Getting better – best practices for your best practices
Posted by Dean Holden at June 14th, 2014
by Peter Vint Ph.D., United States Olympic Committee
There are exactly two things which contribute more to the development of skill and human performance than anything else. These two things are practice and feedback. Without one, the other is ineffective and in some cases can be completely useless. And, it is important to note that not all types of practices and not all sources or methods of delivering feedback are equally effective. My talk today was designed to provide you with the most relevant, up-to-date understanding of how you can apply the most established principles of feedback and practice design to maximize the development of the athletes you coach.
For the entire nine-page article, click here.
Some take home points on practice:
•Considering the success of your athlete’s performance during practice can be misleading. Design practices to maximize learning and competition performance.
• Consider advantages of random versus blocked practice. Random practices seem to function similarly to summary or delayed feedback: it provides time and opportunity for the athlete to interpret their performance and adjust the most salient features of it.
• Consider the advantages of variable versus constant practice conditions. The goal in this is to create conditions which encourage and facilitate the development and execution of skill within a more comprehensive set of experiences. From stress to surfaces, introducing different conditions during practice will better prepare your athletes for these conditions when they arise during competition.
So, here it is. The leap of faith. I completely recognize that some of this stuff is scary to think about. Adopting this information means that you understand that by incorporating some of these ideas, you could actually see decrements in your athlete’s performance during practice. However, the literature is compelling and there are advantages to these ideas for long-term performance. I’d only end with this. Like anything new, take time to learn more and introduce these ideas at an appropriate time. Certainly, introducing a new routine a month before a major competition is probably not a good idea. But, planned appropriately, I’m confident some of these ideas can have a lasting and positive effect on your sport.
Category: 10K hours / 10 years, anticipation, art of coaching, communication, deliberate play, deliberate practice, expertise, feedback, fundamental movement skills, game intelligence, growth & development, leadership, learning, motivation, passion, play, practices, recommended reading / books, research, skill acquisition, Skills, small area games, sport psychology, teaching, work ethic