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4 Skill Development Techniques that
Few Coaches are Aware Of

By - Don Kelbick



Remove Competition From Teaching


Because coaches are programmed to try and win, sometimes they don't realize that some of the techniques used in generating a winning, competitive attitude is sometimes counter productive in skill development. The greatest motivation in any activity is success and success comes slowly with new skills. It is important, while teaching, to reduce stress and fear of failure. Getting a player to buy in and work through the knowledge and adjustments necessary to develop new skills is difficult. When you factor in the emotional toll of unsuccessful repetitions that will certainly occur while learning, you realize that having players compete with undeveloped skills will erode any confidence he may have and might actually affect other skills as well. Your aim is to program for success, not failure.


Concentrate On Similarities Between Skills


Many skills in basketball are similar. For example, pivoting on offense is the same as on defense. Many actions to get the ball are the same as the actions you use once you get the ball. Same actions, different situations. Search for similarities between skills and try to teach them together. Working on similar skills allows a player to have a comfort level that comes with familiarity. Having confidence that he can perform the skill in one situation and transferring that skill to another situation will allow a player to improve his skills at a faster rate. It also will give him a context in which those skills will be used so he can relate them to use in competition.


Go In Short Bursts


The temptation is to work long and hard on the skills you are trying to develop. Basketball has a "Go, Go, Go," mentality. When working on skills, you have to consider the effects of fatigue and attention span and how they affect one another. Fatigue leads to injury, poor muscle memory and shortens attention span. Attention span directly relates to the ability to process new information. Work in short segments of time and then change the activity. Evaluate when rest is appropriate. Remember when you rest, you are resting for the full workout not just that activity. Early in the workout, you might not feel rest is needed, but working it in early will allow players to work at a high level for the entire workout. If you want to do a large number of repetitions, spread them through several work periods. If you want to do 100 jump shot repetitions, do 10 sets of 10 instead of 1 set of 100.


Use Multiple Drills For the Same Skill


A major enemy of skill development is boredom. The large number of repetitions necessary to improve or learn a skill could lead to routine, mundane sessions. Having multiple drills that work on the same skill and rotating them by workout will go a long way to maintaining interest and enthusiasm. It also exposes players to multiple situations in which he can use the skills he is working on. This creates greater motivation and better workouts.


For more information on Don Kelbick go to http://www.DonKelbickBasketball.com.

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phil wright says:
7/13/2010 at 6:23:01 AM

Coach Kelbick is right on. I've found with my high school team that practice segments should never exceed 10 minutes or the execution falls way off.

One other practice factor that I have found maintains attention is to mix the practice groups up, some starters mixed with bench players (except right before games) so that they all have to learn to play together.

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hoopster216 says:
11/17/2010 at 10:14:31 PM

Used these and they work!

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