May 14, 2012

Structuring training to reduce anxiety.

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Your team is having a poor start to the season; has a losing record as they head towards the half way point of the season; and is languishing at the bottom of the league table.

[caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignright" width="300"]

Improving the individual will improve the team.

Improving the individual will improve the team.[/caption]

This is the situation that a friends team finds itself in, so it got me thinking as to how training is structured to give them the best chance of improving performance over the coming weeks to get back on track.

Generally speaking, a team with a poor record is conceding too many points, and not scoring enough...I worked that one out by myself : ). So, the natural solution might be to work on your team plays and defence.

But, is the best way to go?

Why not look at it from another point of view and consider the individuals that make up the team. It is often said that if each player concentrates on doing their own job, then the rest will take care of itself.

And, it was exactly this point that got me moving towards a session structured in a way that focusses on the individual and their personal skill development.

How does the session run?

The content of the session will vary greatly dependent on the sport involved, but this is how I thought a session should be structured.

  • Work in small groups to focus on 'unit' skills

  • Allow time for individual skill development

  • Vary the session to develop players 'adaptability'

There is no specific order to this, and in fact mixing up will help players to be able to deal with ever changing situations that occur in sport.

What will this achieve?

Hopefully, the structure of the session will result in some extremely important outcomes:

  • Players improve their position specific skills

  • Confidence is built as players achieve success during the session

  • Players focus on their role rather than the situation they find the team in, helping to reduce any potential anxiety, leading to improved match performance.

Essentially, we are giving the individual focus, by focussing on the individual.

What are your thoughts? Ever been in this situation and found a particular approach that worked?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Andy