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#231: Timing May Be The Most Important Skill We Don't Teach
Knowing WHEN might be more important than HOW.
In talking about the importance of timing, we are not talking about the sport specific skills in execution of:
· Timing a fastball,
· Tempo of the golf swing,
· Mastering the quick release of a wrist shot in hockey,
· The proper sequence in a powerful soccer strike, or,
· Getting a 3 point attempt off during pressure defense.
· Timing of the jump on a volleyball spike, or,
· When to release the football so the receiver can catch in full stride.
Today, timing is used in a different context.
In this edition, timing refers to the management of information and of the demands we put on those we lead.
As parents and coaches, it is simplest to react to something and address it. However, addressing without planning can be most damaging.
It is hardest to take notes and manage WHEN to provide feedback, or think through the logic of WHEN to add that conditioning drill.
TIMING and the management of information
I remember when my son was very young. He never cried or stomped his feet or had a temper tantrum.
When I witnessed other kids behaving this way, I thought for a while that we simply lucked out. (We did luck out, he was and is a great kid, but this was not why he did not have meltdowns!)
The reason why was that our boy was never hungry.
My beautiful wife/partner of 30+ years had carefully planned to have regular food intervals, snacks and always had something ready to feed our baby boy.
That went on for years.
The planning involved was simple, not easy.
And it worked.
The timing of food release was meticulous in planning and execution.
When it comes to youth sport, timing is similarly critical in managing when, what, and how information is provided for it to be beneficial.
Timing dictates if the information is too much or counterproductive.
Examples for parents on bad timing for anything but positive feedback:
· just before the tryout or game
· the car ride home
· during play time
Examples of bad timing by coach:
· too much, or too complicated information during practice or game.
· not balancing negative feedback with positive.
· not constructive after a disappointment on the playing field.
· too much information during competition.
Reminder: game time should be for the kids. Over communicating during game time takes the fun away for the participants.
TIMING and the physical demands we put on our youth
Considerations for parents:
· Make sure you time food & water intake , proper food before and after heavy physical activity. Water is the fuel, lack of water is super damaging.
· Monitor physical time spent without a break. Don’t spend too much time on the physical drills as opposed to play.
TIMING considerations for coaches regarding physical demands on our athletes:
· WHEN we present the technical components of the skill
So many coaches of youth sport start practice with overwhelming amount of technical information before physical practice , when in fact bite size chunks would be way more effective.
Start practice when their fresh with some activity, then move into the skill development portion by timing verbal instruction very carefully.
Deliver in bite size chunks!
· Warm up followed by 15 minutes of verbal instruction?
This needs to be time differently.
5 minutes verbal in dressing room before practice field …then warmup games or drills followed by 30 second transition to first drill.
Then time carefully drill + verbal in planned sequence (don’t let them get over hungry and meltdown!).
Coaches : After 30-45 seconds, most of what we say will not be retained.
· Timing of conditioning drills
At end of practice when tired? Debatable on whether this is effective depending on the physical demands of practice.
Planning water breaks, and ensuring that drill stations have a contrast between technical and conditioning.
Example: Working on full court 3 person weave in basketball followed by conditioning drill is redundant . This is conditioning within this drill.
Same with base running drill in baseball. This can be conditioning at same time as skill development.
· Confusing speed training with conditioning
Speed training requires short bursts of max effort. Conditioning is mimicking the demands of the game in controlled setting
Both rarely mix and should not be overlapped.
Not productive to go max effort when fatigued.
When is a good time for speed training? After warmup.
· Conditioning as punishment
Bad game with lots of mistakes? Make them run hills or laps = bad timing as it risks injury.
Maybe at next practice timed so conditioning delivers a message without the risks.
· Miscalculating rest to work ratios.
This requires planning. Thinking always of the demands of the game in preparing of practice work to rest ratios.
The planning of WHEN information is delivered for maximum benefit.
The planning of physical demands to minimize injury, maximize adaptation and improvement.
TIMING is everything!