The rules of the game, specifications of the court, equipment, and the techniques needed to execute skills are what distinguishes one sport from another. It can be argued that a coach’s main job is to teach the techniques of a sport. The mechanics of how you hit the ball, throw, catch, and run all influence your performance. There are many different techniques that can lead to success. But generally, there are certain techniques that are more effective than others. The techniques that are said to be “proper” are usually the ones that are most efficient. Efficiency has 2 definitions: getting the most out of what you have, or using the minimal effort to produce a certain result. A technique that allows you to serve as fast as your body allows is efficient. Putting a golf ball using only the necessary muscles and strength is efficient. Proper technique not only gives an athlete efficient power, but it also improves the accuracy, precision, and consistency of your skills. Efficient techniques are also safe. They do not strain any of your joints, ligaments, or muscles. You can use efficient techniques on a daily basis without developing injuries.

Proper, or efficient techniques are usually modeled by elite athletes. For the most part, reaching the elite levels of a sport requires efficient techniques, because they allow them to play at their highest level and prevent injuries. Occasionally, an elite athlete can compensate for inefficient technique with their athleticism, strategy, or mental game.

Technique can be symbolized as a cup to represent potential. A person who learns efficient technique has the potential to perform at elite levels. They have the potential to hit the ball or throw the ball like a professional, because they have similar technique. However, just because you have good technique doesn’t mean you will perform well. You also need muscle memory to go along with your good technique. To fulfill your potential, you need a lot of practice, along with fitness, strategic, and mental training. This training can be symbolized as water filling the cup of technique. With a certain technique, you have a certain size cup. With training, you fill your cup with water. However, once your cup is filled, you have plateaued. You cannot get much better, even with more training. This is why inefficient technique can limit athletes. But if an athlete improves their technique (changes to a bigger cup), they can continue to train and get better.

The problem is athletes often learn inefficient technique at a young age. By the time they fill their cup, meaning hit a plateau, they may have trouble changing their deeply ingrained habits. It is possible to form new habits, but it can be difficult. Many athletes grow impatient, and don’t want to see their competitors pass them while they learn new technique. Some athletes become attached to their technique and refuse to be taught new techniques. This is why it is important to try to learn efficient technique at a young age, so you have a solid foundation, or a big cup to begin with, and don’t have to worry about it later.

As you can see, technique is an important component of sports. Seek coaches that are both knowledgeable of the technical component of sports and know how to teach it.