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DevelopingAthletics

Young Athletes - Teaching Technique

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Teaching Technique

Laying The Foundation For Sporting Excellence

Demonstrating good technique from a sporting perspective involves applying optimal movement ability in order to accomplish or solve a particular task effectively. A young athlete, for instance, who demonstrates sound technical ability while running is getting from point A to point B in an effective manner.

Technical ability in a sport is typically the underlying measure for potential success. Good athletes are more often than not, technically sound athletes. This reality however, does not start and stop with respect to sport specific skills; this fact extends itself into the realm of general athletic development and the promotion or advancement of general movement abilities. The crux of athletic development as a science resides in the notion that before we create a sporting technician or specialist, we must first build the athlete by instilling competency in both basic and advanced movement abilities; this would include not only multi-directional movement skill but also the technical requirements of basic to advanced strength and power training exercises.

The technical abilities demonstrated in a given sport can be categorized based on the rules or requirements of that sport –

Group One -

A sport in which making a good impression on a judge is crucial (figure skating, gymnastics etc) often involves coalescing intricate movements together. Within these sports, the techniques being demonstrated are described or clear (and therefore can be judged for efficiency). They are being performed within a fixed environment and without impediment (i.e. no one is interfering with you). The athlete’s task is to develop technical skill that can be showcased in a performance of pre-determined and practiced movements.

Group Two –

The techniques in this grouping allow the athlete to attain maximal and impartially measured results; there is no consideration for how well the technical abilities were displayed, just objective measurement for how effective they were (i.e. how fast did they run, how far did they throw the object, how much did they lift etc.). Sports in this category would include track and field events, swimming and weightlifting. Outside impediment is not an issue in this grouping either. In this grouping of sports, one’s motor abilities will define success - Meaning, the fastest or strongest athlete will win.

Group Three –

The ability to display adequate technique within this grouping aids in overcoming an opponent. This would include combat sports, racquet sports and virtually all team sports. In this group technical ability is combined with tactical sense and reacting to a continually changing situation and varying conditions. In this category, motor abilities (strength, speed, endurance and flexibility) are submissive to technical ability. That is to say that the fastest or strongest athlete in this grouping of sports, is not necessarily the most successful. Motor abilities are developed in order to improve your application of technical skill.

How efficiently an athlete learns the technical skills of a sport, strength training exercise or movement is determined by several variables –

· Age – Complex skills are often understood and comprehended better by more mature athletes (although indidvidual exceptions certainly apply).

· Emotional State – Relaxed and easy-going athletes tend to learn and reproduce new skills better than athletes who are uptight and self-critical.

· Motivation – So many parents, coaches and trainers just assume that the kids they are working with WANT to be at practice or in that training session. This goes back to my argument on effective coaching includes knowing your athletes and what kind of stresses they are under OUTSIDE of your 60 minutes with them. Athletes who are motivated to learn new skills will do so more easily than unmotivated athletes.

· Natural Talent – Athletes with innate natural ability are far superior at learning and reproducing new skills.

Critical to note within this topic are the methods being employed the Coach/Trainer to teach new techniques. With the lack of stringent regulations at the youth sport coaching level and the youth training industry, it is certainly more than fair to consider the quality of instrution being given –

· What kind of personality does the coach have?

- Brian Grasso

www.developingathletics.com

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