One Step to Better Throwing Practice

coaching throwing Apr 18, 2017

Years ago when I visited the University of Illinois, I was fortunate enough to have a chat with a former professor of mine and long time motor skills researcher, Les Carleton. We discussed the fact that despite advances in motor skills research, much of coaching in the US is done using the same methods of instruction as those used in the 1930’s.

I asked my professor friend, “What concepts in motor skills research, if better understood by coaches, would have the greatest impact on performance?” The two themes emerged from our discussion were the role of deliberate practice, and the importance of variability in practice.

Variability in practice simply means that every practice trial is in some way different. Many teams I have observed begin their practices with an orderly throwing routine in which partners throw ten backhands, ten forehands, ten hammers, etc. This is an example of one of those things that coaches pass down to one another even though this might not be...

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