Every skill is a memory. Walking, running, jumping, throwing, swinging – all of these skills are memories. The more ingrained the memory is, the more efficiently the skill can be performed. The goal for training high level mechanics is to achieve skills that match elite players with programs designed to develop those physical and mental skills required for players to perform!
To become a high level performer of a skill, you need to work extremely hard. Expectations must be set to national, or even global, standards. Increases in competition levels require greater levels of commitment, dedication, and sacrifice. We have developed these seven stages of Player Development and follow the stages with the programs we design.
AB’s 7 Stages of Player Development
To become a high level performer, you must first have an above-average understanding of the skill. While some athletes may have a natural disposition to perform a skill well, this ability cannot be mistaken for high-level performance. Instruction of each skill must meet the standards of high level skill performance.
After learning a skill, you must perform the skill with the intent to execute the newly learned information. A player should not expect great results immediately. The focus and concentration should be on the process of performing the skill. While positive results can be achieved with improper techniques, these results will not prepare the athlete for high-level competition. If the process is performed correctly, results will occur accordingly.
3. Feedback (Video Analysis)
Video is a communication tool. It allows instructors and athletes to see and evaluate performance of a newly learned skill. An athlete will be able to properly visualize their skill, allowing for greater communication, greater understanding of the process of the skill execution, and faster improvements.
4. The Three A’s: Awareness, Adjustments & Application
With instruction, performance, and video analysis of the skill, the athlete will have learned through audio, kinesthetic/tactile, and visual learning styles. They will also have experienced learning in multiple forms of intelligences, including: visial/special, verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, and bodily/kinesthetic. With each learning style and intelligence, learning becomes quicker and skills are better retained. Awareness of the skill and how it is performed, well or poorly, will lead to positive adjustments. Finally, they will need to apply these adjustments to the skill.
5. Quality Repetitions
With a new understanding of the skill, how it is performed, and how the player performs it, the athlete needs quality repetitions to reinforce these steps. Quality repetitions occur in a controlled environment where the athlete can focus on detailed aspects of the skill.
6. Finding the Feeling – Kinesthetic Awareness
Knowing how to perform correctly and doing it correctly can pose a large challenge for an athlete. The feeling of performing a skill correctly must be found through failure. The instructor must test the limits of the skills to force failure. The athlete will find the feeling of performing the skill correctly and then attempt to repeat this feeling of performing the skill correctly.
7. Deliberate Practice
Once the feeling of performing the skill correctly is found, the athlete must engage in deliberate practice to make the skill consistent and routine. Deliberate practice, a term by Geoff Colvin in Talent is Overrated, involves quality repetitions, continuous feedback, and constant expansion of the athlete’s “comfort zone.” The athlete will engage in workouts specifically designed to enhance performance of the skill. Deliberate practice is more mentally challenging than it is physically challenging.