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Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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3 Quality not quantity of practice

When you listened to Teri McKeever in Activity 4 in Session 4 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , she was largely agreeing with this commandment when she said:

I think there’s a place for volume but there’s also a place for quality. And I don’t always mean quality is faster, I think quality is about quality technique, quality is about purposefulness, intention, the relationship to your racing event.

(The Documentary, 2014)

If you also consider team sport, Eddie Jones (England rugby union coach) emphasises that sessions are sharp with no stopping to rectify mistakes.

The saying practice makes perfect is untrue [emphasis added] when it comes to preparing for a match. A game of rugby is chaotic, not structured. You have to be able to react, make decisions and work out where you went wrong. The old way of training was nice and slow, everything done methodically, but that is finished now because rugby is not like that any more.

(Rees, 2016)

This principle suggests, at higher levels of sport, an increasing intensity and focus to practice that encourages athletes to solve problems in varied situations. This requires detailed planning from coaches. The old methodical approach, often using drills, was easier to control and manage, which is partly why coaches are so comfortable using it.