The systemization of skills and representative task design

On his very good blog, Harri Mannonen wrote about the systemization of skills. His major point was that a coach should “base everything you teach on current games” rather than on the coach’s execution of the skill when he or she played. Mark Upton, on his very good blog, also wrote about practice resembling the game. […]

Lights, cameras, and reactive agility

Agility lacks a precise definition (Holmberg, 2009; Jeffreys, 2011; Sheppard & Young, 2006). Agility has been defined as the ability to change directions efficiently or with a minimal loss of control or speed (Barnes, Schilling, Falvo, Weiss, Creasy, & Fry, 2007; Safaric & Bird, 2011; Young & Wiley, 2009); agility requires the ability to brake, change direction, and accelerate again (Plisk, 2000). Agility also has been defined as basic movements that result in sudden changes in body direction in combination with rapid movement of the limbs (Farrow, Young, & Bruce, 2005); described as a rapid, whole-body change of direction or speed in response to a stimulus (Sheppard & Young, 2011); and described as the coupling of deceleration with a reactive acceleration (Plisk, 2000). […]

Early Specialization Too Soon

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports and Fitness, May/June 2013.

As a seventh grader dribbled around his back and attacked the basket during a middle school championship game, the parents commented to each other about the quality of play. One mother explained that several players played on a year-round competitive team in addition to their school team. The year-round play likely helped their team win the game and the championship. Their skills were a little more advanced than their opponent; they made some free throws, and they made better decisions in 2v1 fast breaks. Of course, they also may have won because one player had more facial hair than I had when I graduated from high school or because they had the tallest, most coordinated player on the court. They also may have been lucky, as this was the first time in two seasons and four games that they had won against this opponent.  […]

NBA pre-draft combine, box agility test, and defensive performance

Last weekend, I attended the Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group Conference. The conference is one of the best conferences in the country for strength and conditioning coaches and sports medicine professionals, and regularly draws some of the best speakers. At the conference, former Oakland A’s and current N.C. State strength and conditioning coach Bob Alejo was one of the speakers.  […]