Behaviour Training (BT) vs. Decision Training (DT) Part II
Posted by Dean Holden at February 13th, 2016
by Dean Holden, 27 November 2015
In Part I, Behaviour Training (BT) was outlined.
Enter Decision Training (DT), a supercharged answer to rectify the shortcomings of BT while providing a stimulating learning environment for the players!
Wait, why would we want the players to enjoy practice? Oh yeah, players of all ages voted ‘fun’ as the number one reason they play hockey and stay in sport! Shouldn’t minor hockey kids play hockey, not work hockey? Even adult players would appreciate this approach!
Within this new methodology, the coach designs practice activities and games such that the perceptual, attention, problem-solving and other cognitive skills needed to perform at the highest level are developed at the same time as the physiological, biomechanical and psychological aspects of the sport. In order to perform at the highest level, to maximize purposeful, deliberate practice and quality of time on task, the players need to train in an environment where all three of these aforementioned components are brought together. Talk about one-stop shopping and bang for your buck! Fitness! Technique! Attentional Focus! Learning! Problem-Solving! Creativity! Competition! Accountability! Fun! Needless to say, we need to educate more coaches about this methodology, for better development and enjoyment and retention of our players.
The training profile for DT is opposite to that of BT. Progress is often slower at first – practices can appear chaotic and the coach will not always be yelling instructions and directing players – but greater performance gains are realized in the long term as the players themselves learn to Figure It Out (FIO) on their own! Research shows that for an athlete to achieve long term success in sport, they must be trained in a DT environment!
Here are a number of characteristics of DT coaching environments. As you read this list, I now challenge you to do a self-assessment to see the extent to which your coaching style falls into DT.
- Equal attention is given to both cognitive skills and physiological requirements.
- Instead of practices including only repetitive drills of the same skills, random and variable drills are used, which allows the complexity of the sport to be retained.
- Complex aspects of the sport are presented early in the season using hard-first instruction. This is continued throughout the season by using simulations, video models and / or video feedback. The creativity, spontaneity and complexity of the sport is maintained throughout the season.
- Feedback is deliberately delayed and reduced as the skill level develops.
- As feedback is delayed, the number of sports-specific questions directed to the player increases.
- Eventually, the players are required to answer complex questions that probe their comprehension of the sport. This process reveals their true level of understanding to the coach. It is not only expected that the player show a high level of physical performance, but also a high level of cognitive understanding.
- The player develops the ability to answer questions with a high level of knowledge about their sport. As Invasion Games (hockey, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, etc.) are similar in nature, this knowledge is transferable across games. It is through this process that the player learns to analyze his or her own performance and provide corrective solutions. This is the genesis of the independent athlete; one who creates spontaneous solutions and fosters a growth mindset!
- The player learns how to analyze and correct their own performance using video models, video feedback and / or computer simulations. They become comfortable providing suggestions for their own and others’ development. Players are inspired to mimic and create from watching highlight reels on TV and YouTube!
- As a result of the DT process, communication increases between player and coach. The athlete now has more input into their personal development.
- DT leads to an increase in intrinsic motivation, independence and goal setting by the player. DT brings the player more fully into the training process. This increased initiative, responsibility and accountability build positive life skills through sport and help to prepare the player with the requisite abilities to succeed in the 21st
DT is characterized by practices focused on the achievement of specific decision making skills. To achieve this, there is extensive use of variable and random drills, bandwidth feedback, questioning, use of video feedback, modeling and hard-first instruction.
I encourage you to further explore the benefits of DT. If I can be of help, please contact me.
1. Vickers, J.N, Decision Training: A New Approach To Coaching