Skill acquisition is the science that underpins movement learning and execution. In other words, skill acquisition is what underpins sport. There is not performance without skill acquisition. On this week’s GAINcast we explore some simple ideas that can help coaches improve skill acquisition amongst their athletes.
Notes and quotes
- 3:45 – Skill acquisition vs. motor learning: “Principles of skill acquisition are not just for high level athletes. It applies to athletes across the whole spectrum. “
- 7:00 – Rethinking mass practice, drills, and traditional approaches to skill acquisition: “Thoroughly understand the demands of your sport. If you are going to break it down to teach it without understanding it, chances are you’ll be breaking it down into too many pieces or the wrong pieces. “
- 10:00 – New ideas on practice design and organization for skill acquisition: “By switching things you put pressure on the learner to be able to assimilate the skill. They have to problem solve. That makes the skill sticky. “
- 14:00 – Comparing skill acquisition and classroom learning.
- 17:00 – Balancing the science and art of skill acquisition: “Skill acquisition is not a formula. “
- 20:00 – Learning from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: “Look for differences not similarities. What sets them apart? And strip away things that don’t matter to focus on the core issue.”
- 23:00 – Talking less: “By nature coaches love to talk, but it is probably the poorest form of teaching effectively. “
- 26:15 – Cueing better: “Correct don’t critique. Coach the correction. Focus on the solution, not the problem. All this forces you to be a better coach; anyone can point out the errors. “
- 28:15 – Coordinating the development of physical qualities and specific skills: “For swim dryland training I try to use the same cues our coaches use in the water in terms of making shapes, so athletes can better make that connection. “
- 31:00 – Closing thoughts on training design and knowing your athletes: “Don’t try to make practice game-like, make it faster. Don’t replicate the game, distort it. “
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- The GAINcast is brought to you by GAIN and HMMR Media. Applications for GAIN are now open and you can learn more here, including links to all our past interviews with faculty members, registration information, and more. GAINcast 179 also gives you a sneak peek at GAIN 2020.
- The February site theme on HMMR Media is skill acquisition. Check the site throughout the month for more on the topic, including last week HMMR Podcast with Gary Winckler.
- We’ve looked at similar topics on several other episodes including GAINcast 109 on drills, GAINcast 168 on getting better, and GAINcast 161 with David Epstein.
- Vern has also put together blog posts on skill acquisition vs. motor learning, drills, and John Wooden’s coaching style.
- One podcast recommended in this episode: Learner lab with Trevor Ragan.