DELIBERATE PRACTICE JEREMY BENOIT
Belleville Senators Strength & Conditioning Coach
By Jeremy Benoit
After reviewing a few journal entries on athletic performance and practice I wanted to find a way to explain why the small tasks we do in the gym (ping pong, tossing games, balance and proprioceptive exercises, hip and shoulder prehab exercises) are extremely important to athletic development. I have outlined 3 important points to think about when it comes to deliberate practice and developing as a pro.
Always Challenge Yourself to Improve: To improve performance one shouldn’t continuously practice and master tasks they are already proficient in. Always try and go outside your comfort zone and turn weaknesses into strengths by setting small goals or tasks that are geared to improve these short comings. Processing during in game situations for example can be improved upon by playing small challenging games such as ping pong or multi directional drills with cued change of direction.
The Brain is a Muscle too: We perform all kinds of different tasks in a day and are always learning new skills they trigger a certain electrical pattern, when we continuously practice these tasks we increase the myelination of those particular axons which over time increase the speed and strength of those electrical patterns. These skills learned have been proven to increase the ability to process in their particular sport. Whether this be through reading, performing difficult movement patterns in the gym or learning knew exercises that aren’t usually in your warm up routine.
Quality Over Quantity of Practice: Whether it be improving on hip stability, mobility, quick feet or lifting techniques. It is imperative that you practice perfectly to optimize your ceiling for that particular task. Remember time spent on a task is not a good indicator of task development. Set specific and deliberate goals when practicing and time should be an afterthought.
BSc. Kinesiology C.S.C.S
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Belleville Senators Hockey Club