Fast Track by Slowing Down

Skill Development is complex, and I've written about it before here and here (and here and probably elsewhere). My general thoughts are that long term development is often compromised for short term gain, and that our definition of Skill Development is often too narrow. But what if we started thinking about development from the end point rather than the start.

There is one part of skill development that happens towards the end of the process, that we often forget about. That is: changing technique that is limiting. Changing things is much harder than learning them in the first place, so having to stop and change something takes a significant amount of time. Unfortunately for the athlete, this usually happens when they should be learning new and more difficult skills. Effectively, this athlete is standing still when everyone else is going forward.

I'm not saying you should do things slowly, in High Performance you need to get there as fast as possible, but you also need to be clear about the goal.

A racing driver will go faster at the beginning of the race if they have less fuel on board (the car is lighter) and don't need to worry about the wear and tear on the car. But this strategy doesn't work if they have to constantly take pit stops to change tires and put on fuel. They need to balance the urgency with other considerations.

So whenever we are talking and thinking about fast tracking athletes, lets keep this in mind. Lets keep the end goal in mind and consider slowing down now will get you to the end point faster.

(Photo Credit)


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