Indepedent Practice is Important!

1 Dec

With winter on the way in the United States, I’m sure most younger soccer players (and probably a lot of the older ones too!) have stored their ball in the corner of the garage or back of the closet – to stay there until the spring.

Pavl Williams from BetterFootball.net sat down with Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, to discuss the traits common in elite performance across sports.  The full interview with Coyle is available as a podcast download, but I found this statement from Coyle very telling:

One of the things that is very clear in music but which we don’t see in soccer is this: if you’re in music and you don’t practice between now and your next lesson your teacher can tell! There’s an expectation in that culture and an amount of disapproval if you don’t practice in the week between your lessons.

I don’t think that happens in sports. At least in my country you finish baseball practice and you put down your glove and you pick it up again on the way out to next week’s practice. There isn’t this expectation of “home is where the repetition can really happen”. It has to do with the passivity of the kid in our culture…kid’s are just toted around in cars, spill out and are expected to go get better. Which is just completely crazy.

I think this relates very closely to my discussion several months ago of Consumers, Participants and Creators several months ago – but I think it is vital at all levels of sport, not just to those who aspire to be “Elite.”  As coaches and a team, we have limited time available to us each week at practice – and if we are to progress as a team, we need to dedicate the practice to introducing new concepts every week of the season (and not investing time in the same concept every week.)

Technical skills, that one player can master largely on their own time, are the building blocks that are required before coaches can start work on tactics and building the player’s understanding of his place in the team.

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