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Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Repetition is necessary to gain a mastery of a technique or skill. Demonstration's also require repetition in order for players to have a model version to aspire to. Furthermore, allowing players to repeat a corrected version can help overwrite mistakes made. By repeating sessions, coaches can build on previous learning as well as decrease instruction/increase time within activities.


Repetition Of A Technique

Player's need repetition in order to gain a mastery of a skill or technique.  It takes time to allow players to repeat the move and develop it, as well as working on the other foot! This can be challenging for coaches to keep players engaged as repetition is often linked with boredom. Having a variety of activities and twists on games can really help to continue getting repetition while engaging the players.

In the above example, player's get plenty of repetition. However, after a while, this may not be the most fun.

In the second example, players still work on close control in a tight area, but also look to identify spaces to penetrate and score points. This keeps the game more interesting and can be tweaked to maintain engagement of players.

Repetition Of Scenarios

While repeating a technique over and over again will allow players to master 'how' to do something, it alone is not enough. For a technique to become a skill, players need to be able to apply it in the context of the game. Once a player understands the where, when and why of a move (under pressure) then we've progressed from individual technique to a skill.

As a result, a repetition of scenarios is particularly important for giving players an environment to transfer their mastery of the technique to skill. By placing players in a scenario where they might use the technique, they can start to work on where, when and why to use them. As a coach, you can then either:

  • Let the game be the teacher
  • Guide them to discover it's application
  • Use examples of other player's success
  • Show them explicitly what you're looking for

The above game has two target players and a neutral for the team in possession. Player's will find themselves in scenarios where they can try and "Receive to Turn" (the session topic) and play forwards.

It might be that the scenario changes based on the pressure. This allows the players to come up with their own solutions and coaches the chance to address the 'what if?' questions.

Repetition Of A Demonstration

While learning styles are currently being feverishly debunked by teachers across all different areas of expertise, there is one component that will never leave coaching: visuals. Demonstration's are important for showing player's what you're looking for, giving them a model version to aspire to and breaking technique's down for players.

When demonstrating a technique, it is important to:

  • Show the technique multiple times, allowing players to focus on different aspects (e.g. this time look at how I drop my shoulder to exaggerate the move)
  • Show it at different angles (perhaps seeing a lofted pass from the front, as well as behind, gives players insight into contact with the ball and follow through)
  • Do it at different speeds. The full-speed version shows player the model for the technique. The slow-mo version allows players to break it down and chunk the information

In the above activity, the coach demonstrates the 'Ronaldo Chop' with his left foot.

The coach then returns back and shows it with his right foot. (Alternatively, he might do the first demo slowly and the second demo at game speed).

Repetition When Making Interventions

When making interventions, a number of coaches focus on correcting players. If a player makes a mistake, the coach may work individually with that player on fixing said issue, have them try it, and then return them to the session. If we take this approach, players have one repetition of doing it incorrectly (if we caught it straight away) and one repetition of the the correct version. 

In order to remedy this, coaches should consider having player's do multiple repetition's of the correct version to overwrite their previous experiences of performing the technique. This way, players are rewriting and increasing, their muscle memory for completing the move correctly.

The coach works 1 on 1 with the yellow player on his 'Inside Outside' move which just broke down. The coach then has the player try it successfully 2 or 3 times before returning to the activity.

Repetition Of A Session

When running a session for the first time, it is common to spend a decent amount of time explaining activities and making interventions to tweak activities/games. This can take away time from coaching and player's number of repetitions.

As a result, it can be beneficial to repeat entire session's to:

  • Get more repetition's of a technique or skill by doing the session again
  • Have more time for rep's in activities as there is less need to explain activities they now know how to play
  • Build on previous learning with follow on coaching points or learning outcomes

Repeating a session, especially one that requires a lot of explaining, allows more playing time as there is less need for instruction. This means less time figuring out the activity, and more time working on the theme of the session.

Key Takeaways

  • Repetition within session's is important so that player's can master techniques
  • Technique itself is not enough, repetition of the correct game scenario is necessary to transfer from technique to skill
  • When correcting, consider having them repeat the correct technique multiple times to rewrite their muscle memory
  • Don't be afraid to repeat session's to get players move repetition and build on their learning

Written by: Dean Atkins