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Showing posts from January, 2019

Flexible Goals

I've just recently read about this topic in a book (I will give a book review on it in the near future). It is a concept that can greatly help performance. Having flexible goals is very similar to the ideas that I've written about in the past regarding wanting to win vs wanting to give 100% effort. Having flexible goals helps you balance these two motives to maintain peak performance.

Let me explain what I mean by flexible goals. It means to not have only one specific vision of what success looks like. It means to provide yourself multiple paths to success and a hierarchy of goals. Here are some examples to show what I mean:

If you only have one specific vision of what success looks like, then you are cutting yourself off from other paths that could lead to good things. For instance, if you really want to be a professional basketball player, but you only want to play in the NBA, then you'll most likely quit basketball altogether if you fail to get drafted or signed to an NBA…

The Cycle of Development: Performance, Evaluation, Training, Repeat

There is a cycle of development for athletes. It goes performance, evaluation, training, repeat. Performance refers to official games or competitions. During a game, you try to play your best and try to win. After a game, whether you win or lose, it is time for evaluation. This is when you evaluate your performance. This is when you think about how you played, review stats and film, and determine what you should work on more in practice. Many athletes, especially at the lower levels of sports (high school and younger), don't focus enough on this step of the cycle. They go from performance to training without really thinking about how they played. This is too bad, because evaluation is very important. You can't just randomly practice and expect your performance in games to improve. You need to practice with a purpose. Your practice needs to be designed to help you improve as efficiently as possible so you can perform better. To do this, you need the information gathered from ev…

Defense Wins Championships Theory

We’ve all heard the cliche, “defense wins championships.” But is this actually true? I'm not going to do a statistical study to prove a point, but I will explain my theory why I think there is truth to this cliche. In theory, in most sports at least, offense and defense are equally valuable. You can’t win if you can’t score, and you can’t win if you allow the opposing team to score on every possession. So why do so many coaches believe in the “defense wins championships” mantra? They believe this because they’ve experienced it. We’ve all have seen championship teams that were defensively oriented. It doesn’t always happen, but it seems that defensively oriented teams defeat offensively oriented teams in championship games more often. The 2014 Super Bowl featuring the Seahawks (defensively oriented team) and the Broncos (offensively oriented team) is just one example.
In my theory, the reason why defense wins championships is related to fine and gross motor skills and pressure. In m…

Blocked vs Random Practice

One big component of your athletic development is your training and how you design your practices. Successful athletes have mastered many skills because their practices were well thought out and designed. A main characteristic of practice design is whether your practice is blocked or random.
Blocked practice means you spend a lot of time working on one specific skill, such as free throw shooting. You practice a skill for hours at a time, in hope that the many repetitions will result in improvement. In many cases, blocked practice is an effective strategy to improve. It takes a lot of time and repetitions to learn skills and change habits. However, there is a disadvantage to blocked practices. There are so many skills that athletes need to master to reach a high level, if you spend every practice working only on one skill, it will take forever to learn all the skills. And by the time you work on a certain skill, you may have forgotten how to execute skills that you learned a while ago.…