I love high energy drills. I love the way the gym sounds when my team’s engaged in those types of drills. I love the way I can sneak in some conditioning in those drills. I love the controlled chaos high energy drills create.
I was talking to a coaching friend of mine and she was describing a drill she really liked that was decidedly low energy. I told her that while her drill was probably great, it also sounded kind of boring. And she said (I’ll never forget it), “yeah, but sometimes that’s the game.” It’s so true! I hadn’t prepared my team for playing an opponent with low energy. I also hadn’t prepared them for the natural lulls that happen in our sport. And I certainly hadn’t prepared them, with my high energy drills, for playing a team that they were significantly better than.
Our world is so fast (we check our texts while we chat on the phone while we search the internet) that we’re losing the value of slowing down…and our athletes are losing focus because of it. What if we single-tasked instead of multi-tasked? Can our players really chat about their Chemistry homework and perform their drills correctly? Probably not.
3 ways we can slow our sports down
Slow understanding. How many coaches out there have tried to correct or teach a new skill to a player, only to have them give up seconds later? This is the world we live in now, where the average person switches their internet focus twenty seven times per hour. Don’t like it? Change it! Can’t figure it out? Don’t do it! That mindset won’t work in the athletic world and we’ve got to remind our athletes that it’s okay if they don’t master a skill at the moment they are being taught.
Slow seeing. To me, vision is what separates mature athletes from those who are immature in the sport. I’m not talking philosophical vision, but what the athlete actually sees when they’re playing. I’ve found that young athletes are much more reactionary than those who’ve been through the ringer a few times. You hear this a lot when folks talk about baseball or football…about how the game slows down for them when they’re in the zone. I believe we can teach this skill in our gyms and on our playing fields.
Slow thinking. I’ve got a little one at home and often find myself telling her to “focus”. She’s all over the place! I ask her to go put on her shoes so that we can leave the house only to go into her room a few minutes later to find her playing with toys…without shoes on her feet. The same is true of our athletes. I think we sometimes forget that we’re not the only people giving them work to do. We’re telling them to practice, lift, watch video, eat well. Their professors are telling them to study, do homework, come in early for office hours. Their friends are telling them to hang out and have fun. There’s a lot for them to balance and arming our athletes with the ability to block out the non-essentials will be key in their lives.
By forcing our athletes to slow down and give their sport the time it deserves, it will not only help them become better players, but (in my opinion) more engaged and present in all facets of their lives.
I got idea for this post from, Fleeting Attention Shortchanges the Art of Patience, on the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s website…check it out!