|Don Kelbick says:
12/17/2007 at 8:42:32 AM
As part of the bigger picture, there are things we need to understand about our players. Firstly, every one is different and, as such, process information differently based on our past experience. It is the coach's job to give all his players a common vision to help them process inside a team concept and problem solve together. The result is teamwork.
Secondly, all people process information at different speeds. As coaches, we can affect that by giving players exposure to what they might see on the court whether through drill experience or playing experience. However, we must understand that we have limited effect in this area because 90% of recognition and reaction is innate. However, we must control what we can and that is why we practice.
I also agree that speed limits perceptual field but at different rates for different people and we, as coaches, cannot pigeonhole players based upon what one player can do compared to another (Billy can do it, I don't understand why Johnny can't). It is said that Babe Ruth could read the label on a 78 rpm record (for those of us old enough to remember what that is), Barry Bonds can count the seams on a fast ball coming at 100 mph. It was determined (I don't know how) that great players like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson see the game in slow motion. When they do things that look to us as split second decisions actually occur in a reasonable amount of time to them. Coaching may be able to bring out that innate ability but we certainly can't develop it.
I agree wholeheartedly with slowing things down when we teach, and gradually build up to game speed. I will take it one step further, when teaching players to compete, remove competition from teaching. This goes back to stress. After teaching the skill or situation, use chairs or cones to give it relevance to the game (as reference points, obstacles, defense, etc.) and only after they are comfortable should you introduce live competition.
We must also understand that the game is a very fluid entity, the same thing never happens twice in the same way. For that reason we must always be teaching and not just criticizing.