The Value Of Repetitions

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In order to get better at doing something, you need to practice it.  And not just once.  To master anything you need to perform many, many, many repetitions.  I’m pretty sure that is not a revelation.  But what kind of repetitions?  As I’ve written before, not all repetitions are equal.  There are massed repetitions, distributed repetitions, deliberate repetitions, competitive repetitions.  The answer is, unfortunately, some combination of all them.  But the one absolute necessity for a useful repetition is the participant must be fully engaged.  I just came across a great blog post by coach educator / consultant Wayne Goldsmith on this topic.  And the post contained this example which I thought hit the nail right on the head.

The aim of all training in competitive sport is to prepare athletes to perform to their full potential in competition or, if you like,to train the way you want to play!

Let’s say there are 100 balls in the bucket. And I hit 100 balls over the net. And of that 100 balls I hit over the net, my mind is only fully engaged with 10 of them. So, in terms of how my training relates to my competition that’s a success rate of………10%.

Too many times I see mindless repetitions or practice to fill time.  For repetition to be useful, you must be engaged in the process.  Otherwise, you are just filling time.

Click for more Practice Philosophy

A collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.

For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.


  1. The dichotomy between ‘deliberate practice’ and Gallwey’s self-learning/correcting is, in some ways, the essence of coaching developing players. Players learning things for themselves is what we need, but when you can see that players are not focussed on learning you want to intervene.

    Perhaps an interesting question is how best to ensure practice is deliberate, without overcoaching.


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