After reaching a certain level in sports, we are sometimes tempted to skip some steps we worked hard to implement.
Every athlete did a sport a very first time. Depending on the age and personality, kids are open to learning the skills in small doses. Like, start learning to write with letters and words before writing whole sentences and essays. Like we still use letters and words in essays, athletes still use the basic elements in complex elements - at least, that would make sense.
The problem often seems to be that those basic elements in sports are not taken as serious as they could and should be. We all know how it works. We learn something, we do it, and then move on to the next level of the skill because we want to get better - as fast as possible.
There is nothing wrong with that - if it works. But the reality isn´t such simple.
Every basic drill is done for a reason, and this reason is that it is needed. What I see, and I think I´m speaking for many coaches, is that those basic skills lose attraction and get underestimated. The “simple” and often obvious “stuff” is easy to skip. It´s much more fun, not just for young but older athletes as well, to show the skill on a higher level.
Yes, athletes want to gain in whatever their sport requires, but this can only be done by keeping the basics. Dragging them with us into every following layer of the skill set.
There are two kinds of Basics:
- The technical ones, which we learn in the easiest way possible either to refine those step by step or add more complexity.
- The physical ones, which we need to come back to all the time, are just on higher levels. I was talking about those in my blog post, “Building in the Foundation.”
Let´s talk today about the technical ones and start with two examples.
A great soccer player pulls out all sorts of ball tricks in a game. It's impressive, but if they lose the ball by not passing it on when they have the chance or missing the window kicking the ball into the goal, all these higher-level skills didn´t pay off at that moment. At the end of the game will be a result that comes back to the basics - which team was hitting the goal the most. It´s great having the uplevel skills they are undoubtedly useful - when combined with the basics.
Another example I also can relate to is when a Biathlete starts hitting the targets. They are tempted to get faster and faster. The focus moves from doing everything to lining up the rifle with the target to do it fast. There wouldn´t be anything wrong with it if athletes wouldn´t skip important technical elements in favor of time.
I want to stick with the second example. First, it´s my specialty, but I also assume everyone can translate this into their own sport. Shooting is a little more complex than it seems like, but what seriously happens is that the aiming part, at the time it counts the most, is cut too short, if even done at all. Yes, athletes are aiming toward the target, but they often fall short on “fine-aiming,” probably because it´s underestimated to spend this split of a second for a basic and most obvious thing in shooting.
Just because it is obvious that we are doing a part of a basic technical detail in our sport, doesn´t mean that we actually do it. For some reason, there is a chance to get lazy when something that seems to be too simple. It´s not done by purpose, it´s our drive to master complicated skills. But those we only can master, when lining up all the “simple” stuff.
Whenever running into problems hitting the next needed level, look at what basics are not refined yet. Those can be the game-changers you are looking for, so keep aiming for them.
Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)
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