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This has come up a few times recently in some discussions I have had with people outside of this. It revolves around the end of a session and the call of "one more rep".
Usually, this revolves around a scenario where the final rep is not a good one (back to that later) and the desire to not finish the session on a low point. The flip side of this is that training then goes beyond its allotted time, which can bring its own associated problems.
Returning to the idea of a "good/bad rep", this can be very subjective. What do we mean by this? In American Football, this might equate to a drop by the receiver, a fumble by the running back or an interception by the QB. As you can see, though, these example are all from the same side of the ball - Offence.
The problem is that while these are "bad" for the offence, they are "good" for the defence as it constitutes a win for them. So by saying it is a "bad rep" do you undermine the performance of one half of your team?
Usually though, there is this desire to finish the session on a high note and this can invariably mean an offensive win.
Looking at teams which have both attack and defence elements, which would be pitted against each other in practice, how would you approach this?
Great question Simon,
In my opinion you're right to say that the idea of a good/bad rep is very subjective, and I think that is where the real actionable point in this is. Whenever competition is involved in practice there will be a winner and a loser - this is the nature of sport, after all - but the rep is only good/bad if the players involved think of it as good/bad.
A win for some may lead to an increase in confidence (good), but in others it may lead to complacency and a reduced drive to improve (bad). A loss for some may lead to the discovery of a new way to improve which can benefit their development (good), while for others it can lead to anger or frustration (bad).
My point here is that all events in a game are neutral, it is the individual player's appraisal of an event that gives it meaning, so it is the player's own mindset that determines whether the experience was positive or negative. Rather than thinking about how to structure the training session to keep everyone happy, perhaps it would be more beneficial to look at how to promote a mindset in your player's that is better equipped to process short-term success and failure more constructively.
Unfortunately as far as how to do this goes I have more questions than answers myself, but it may be something worth thinking about for someone smarter than me!
All events are neutral
Elliot. Really like that phrase. Comes to mind when I see lads playing an intense 5 a side and are all trying different things to break down the opposition or keep them out. At the end everyone is buzzing and the score isn't so important.
Maybe if as a coach we are pinning our hope on the last rep to call a session positive Then maybe there are things we could have tweeked earlier to better end the session well. If in fact that should always be our goal.
Thank you for the insight gents. It's got me thinking differently.
I think aside from the impact on the athletes mentality, the coach's reason for wanting '1 more rep' needs to be considered.
If something odd comes out of the blue to interrupt what would have been a final rep, I can certainly see the logic, but in my mind the failure is often a pretty good indicator it is time to call it a day. Skill deteriorates under fatigue, so it's often a sign the athlete is spent. Whilst there are certainly some circumstances where trying to develop performance under fatigue may be desirable, if the intention is to give them a chance to do better on that extra rep, then they'd probably be better off being sent home.
When I was a kid my coach would repeatedly say 'practice makes permanent, not perfect'. Further reps under fatigue once the skill has broken down doesn't really achieve much in my opinion.
Always an interesting one - at what point do you end the session?
Best advice I've ever taken on is to end your session early. With most sessions involving a 'game' towards the end, stopping the session for a de-brief and checking understanding of the day's topics with a good 5 minutes left gives you a wider window to end on a 'good point' or more importantly, a good example of what we have been trying to achieve.
Then turn it over to the players to play the game they came to enjoy without any further input. Coaches can then stay in the background and watch to hopefully see evidence of the key points coming out and evolve the plan of where to go next.
In football, we often hear 'next goal wins'. I've tweaked that to 'Last ball. Keep it in play and you can stay all day!'
Fairly confident that the game will last less than a minute!
Interesting question, a couple of points:
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