“To improve practice, raise standards”
The most famous* research in the field of sports psychology is the relationship between performance and arousal. This theory is most often represented as an inverted U shaped graph that shows performance improving as arousal increases up to an optimal arousal level, after which performance deteriorates.
It often occurs that the level of practice is lower than expected. Often the coach will wonder if the drill is too difficult, or complain that the players are not ‘focused’. The temptation can be to make the drill easier, or to yell and scream and make a scene. Instead of making the drill easier, or yourself hoarse, the coach can improve performance simply by raising the standards of the drill.
For example, in a spiking warmup, if you put a length of elastic 10cm higher than the top of the net, you will find that the players hit the elastic with exactly the same regularity that they previously hit the top of the net. Or in any other drill, add or change the scoring system to make the drill harder.
Raising the required standard, increases attention and arousal and improves performance. If you want improved attention at practice, make practice harder.
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