Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coaches Special - Training vs Practice

When I put stuff in my files, I cut and paste it from the internet. Later when I have time I go back to it, give it a read and type some summary points about it that I wasn't aware of before going into it. I give it a title and the author next to it so I can reference it on the Internet later if I need to like this:

Training vs Practice (john townsend) - blah, blah, blah...

Except for this one I can't locate the article on the net so I won't have a link to the original article but it was a doozy I assure you.

Anyway it was from a soccer based coach named John Townsend who went into pretty good detail on how training differentiates from practice and I've touched on a few of these aspects rather broadly in the early part of this year in various blogs but it;s time get a bit more specific.

Here are the cliff's:
  • Training is the aquistion of new skills
  • Practicing is a method of learning and rehearsal of already acquired skills that needs to occur in a controlled environment prior to game simulation
  • Working on kicking requires drills designed specifically for kicking, not necessarily holistic play (kick, mark, handball, running at the same time) 
  • Training 's main goal is to push for marked and measurable performance of a specific skill through your performance output
  • Performance output is the quantitative and often, exhaustive measure, of a player’s ability to perform a specific skill/task or a series of tasks
  • True training tests performance inputs (capability/capacity to learn, new concept retention, max levels of productivity etc.)
  • Skill/Technical work falls into the category of training while a players application of that learned/acquired technical ability is true practice
  • Players have only a limited amount of time in a session to actually train before that ability runs out
  • At the end of the session the athlete should feel physically and mentally pushed and thus the frequency and duration they can train at well increases resulting in a bigger, stronger and better player over time
  • Less talented/experienced players have little idea about mastery whereas the most talented/experienced players will dip a toe in the waters of mastery but usually stop short of full immersion from not wanting to fully exit their confort zone
  • Elite players live in the non-comfort zone
  • All sport specific skill sets require learning, retention of skills/methods, repetition/deep practice, practice prior to meaningful comp and revisiting fundamental skills to increase performance output
  • Good players survive on effort, great players survive on ability but effort will only take you so far
  • Valuing effort over skill/technique (huge in AFL at al levels) hides gaps in your game that are shown up against higher competition
  • This results in a disproportional attitude of proficiency which is where something exceptional for player A, is only entry fee for player B but everyone needs to reach the same level
  • Instead of modifying a drill to fit the skill level of your players, develop their skills enough to perform the drill in the first place
  • Train skill specific technique and get it to a specific level prior to introducing game tactics which are built of high skill
  • Without high skill level, players won’t play with the speed and creativity to required to excel
  • Practice sessions at elite level consists of basic tasks carried out with speed and intensity requiring you to carry out high skill under duress with high rates of success (output).
  • If you’re skills aren’t up to par in a sub-max speed session, then you’ll fall apart during the those sessions
  • Repeated skill work in isolated sessions away from match play is the fastest way to technical mastery
  • Practice and training both require a balance ratio of instruction and activity performance
  • Assess your training sessions on not just the amount of activity time players get, but how much non-activity time they get as well
  • Drills must align w/ the ability of the collective
  • The player must improve on their time, not the teams time
  • Bored players become disinterested players which can decrease total team session output
  • Stagnation is the result of inaccurate coaching prompts/ cueing so unless there’s more value in players watching a drill, those not directly involved gain little from standing off to the side for prolonged periods of time
  • Effective coaching methods has players engaged in secondary involvement where active rest is performed with balls
  • Age 7 – 10 is the golden age of learning
  • He watched some academy sessions and the 90min sessions had 23 and 27mins of down time per session, which is training time you don’t get back
  • Details of any set play tactics should be provided ahead of using them at training in an absorbable format
  • If you want players to be responsible and well-versed on the sessions objectives, then coaches are responsible for giving them a means to make this happen
  • Strength training is called that instead of strength practice because the specific training is geared towards an athletes ability to address their weaknesses an route to yielding max performance output
Plenty of food for thought there for coaches and players alike so if I can actually locate the article I'll link it in when I do!

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