There is a lot of research that shows the best kind of practice the coach should do with his team. The best kind of practice that a coach should do with his team is distributed practice. Distributed practice provides the best conditions for learning and importantly the retention of the learning. That is clear. Everyone knows that*. So it logically follows that distributed practice is always the best way to practice. Or does it?
What if the goal of a particular practice session is NOT learning? What if the goal is team building? Or active recovery? Or providing feedback? Or developing a common language? Or improving communication? If the goal of practice is not learning then is it necessary to use only distributed practice formats?
The practice below was originally recorded by Volleywood for a Facebook Live Event. The goal of the practice activation. The team had had two free days prior to this practice. Contrary to popular belief, professional athletes are not better when they have had free time and tend to be fairly sluggish. Sometimes practice can look like the players have never met each other, or a ball, before. In such cases, to prevent practice being an essential dead loss, we can have a morning practice that activates the nervous system and muscles, in preparation for the days that follow. In that case we want to have simple activities and movements that allow a player to get back in communication with his body and with the ball.
The video quality is not perfect, and it wasn’t recorded with the view of being a training aid, but you can get the idea.
*Sadly, not everyone knows that. But they should.