Coaches constantly obsess over practice. They are constantly on the look out for new drills and drill ideas. They expand practice time to get the most possible repetitions. They add sessions to practice that one extra thing that they didn’t get a chance to practice yesterday. And by doing so, they miss the point of practice entirely.
Without attention, on the part of the coach and the team, practice is at best specific physical preparation. Attention means full attention to the task at hand, to all of the cue recognition, decision making and execution components of each and every action.
The coach can prevent the player from achieving their optimal level of attention by, among other things,
- running repetitive / non specific drills that don’t require attention or require the wrong attention,
- letting practice run too long,
- programming too many sessions in a week,
- not demanding / requiring attention in all activities.
All of the coach’s programming must revolve around capturing and maintaining their players’ attention. Without attention there is no practice.
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