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Over recent months I have spent a lot of time looking at my coaching and in particular I have been looking at the "tools" I use to keep my practices and games decision rich. In recent years I have used rebound nets and boards and the more I look at these they create random activity and support skills development after the basic skill transfer or habit forming activity. If introduced too early by a coach I am starting to think they can be detrimental but, and its a big but, if the athlete or player is given them to explore without immediate coach intervention we end up with a different activity. The "fun" element remains but we end up with some self organisation of the environment which when added to coach led activity can sign post us to multiple level activity. Any thoughts?
I think the main thing I've found is that tools can be great and can really benefit the individual within a session. Tools like rebound nets are fantastic in terms of working on techniques with an added element of realism. However, it is vitally important that the tools don't distract from the goal you are trying to achieve. Furthermore, utilizing tools with young grassroots players may cause the players to be more fascinated about using the tools instead of the purpose of the drill.
I think the key is the first of all know your players. Will they appreciate the use of the tools for the right reasons? Also, don't use the tools for the sake of using the tools and ensure that the group/individuals are appropriate.
Fully agree with Sara. Where I work there's volley boards, passing boards, mannequins, 4 different sized goals and all sorts. Most of the time I tend not to use them, as I'm a fan of constraints and giving players a 'pure' game experience (plus the time to set things up!!)
HI Grahame - interesting post!
I agree with Sara and Richard - i think the key is to know your players, and not use the tools as a constant element of the session. They create interesting elements to the session, but should be used to the benefit of the athletes/session.
I love a tool or a gimmick to develop a session!!!
For me, coaching tools or aids provide a way to, for example, recreate real-game situations by capturing the unpredictability of the game... in training.
Overall, a coaching tool or aid is a means to an end, not an end in itself
Such coaching tools/aids are a way out of many of getting to a given performance goal (skill, strategy, technique), but I don't think you can ever get to that goal by just using such tools or aids.
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