Skill vs. Drill

September 3, 2014

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Contributed by Speed Coach Lee Taft, www.leetaft.com.

Is the DRILL focus still winning over the SKILL focus?

Reactive agility might be falling prey…

I am thrilled to see the shift in training over the past couple years toward a more reactive based training. Most of my training from day one has been based on making athletes react, decide, and move. This is how the plyo step, hip turn, and directional step came into play. I watched athletes react and make a play.

Do you know what the most important series of words are in the last sentence? “Make a play”. That’s right; can athletes be in position to make a play?

In the past couple years, I have seen aton of new gadgets that create an environment for athletes to recognize a signal and react to. Honestly, I keep it simple. I still use hand signals, tennis balls, and my voice. That’s just how I roll. These tools are wonderful, if you can afford them. But, what never ceases to amaze me is how these greatly intentioned tools end up being more about the DRILL (the bells and whistles) and not about the SKILL. Or even the intent of why reactive agility and speed is so important…TO BE IN POSITION TO MAKE A PLAY!

What happens is these reactive games have athletes moving quickly to a space but then they are off balance when they get there? The problem is the coach is trying to improve the reactive component so badly they forget about the control and athleticism once they arive to the location.

Reaction training is a tool to help athletes to make more plays, not to see how fast they can get to a flashing light, cone, or line with no regard for control. ALWAYS COACH THE SKILL FIRST AND ALLOW THE DRILL TO EMPHASIZE IT.

A great reaction without control is going to have the same result in most cases as a poor reaction with great control. Teach both ends of a drill because you are skill focused and don’t let the new shiny tool distract your focus!

I have tons of coaching aids that will show the skill development first and how to use various skills to enhance performance. Visit www.LeeTaft.com

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