Not my favorite question when my 4 year asks over and over, but one of the most important questions an athlete can ever ask. I truly believe that an informed athlete will make better choices, be more committed and have a higher level of success.
To often coaches, trainers and parents like their athletes to be like good soldiers and just do what your told without question. Now, there are times when that should absolutely be the case, for example a play call during a game. During training and practice however, why should be an integral part of the training process.
I firmly believe especially when it comes to training the reason some trainers want that kind of blind obedience is due to insecurity in themselves. Maybe they are not truly sure of the detailed “why” in a drill. I have seen it countless times in my career. Trainer or coach gives an athlete a drill and when asked they can only give a generic answer like “it’s an agility drill” or “it’s to help you increase your speed” That often comes from the fact that they just got the drill off youtube or it was a drill they used to do or even they saw someone else doing it.
When I get the chance I like to ask if a drill is linear or lateral or multidirectional by design. Is it an acceleration focused drill or declaration based. Is it pre programmed patterning or reactive in nature. How is it relative to the sport an athlete is playing.?
Why so many questions? It’s the same reason that when you do drills properly every joint angle, pressure point and all other biomechanics need to be addressed to the smallest degree.
The attention to details equals the general level of success with execution of the intended goal of a drill and the ability of the athlete to make that a foundational subconscious movement ability.
So Coaches and Trainers, make sure you know the why of every drill you utilize and make sure your players understand the why as well. You’ll find you are so much better at coaching it when you understand the why and your players will learn it and execute it at such a higher level. Don’t use drills that you don’t truly understand. It does your athlete no good and in some cases can be counter productive.
Parents, you are sometimes the worst culprits in youth sports when it comes to avoiding or not truly understanding the why. Your intentions are often just, but you do a disservice to your child by not truly understanding what you intend to teach or utilize as training. It’s also a disservice to send them to a fitness trainer who doesn’t specialize in working with athletes. Sports performance coaches specialize in training athletes and utilizing the proper principles necessary to develop the youth athlete. Personal trainers, crossfit trainers, bodybuilders and powerlifters all train differently. So don’t make the mistakeof taking your child to one of them. Even if they say they used to be an athlete (that is the most irrelevant statement I ever hear).
In conclusion, embrace the why. Use it to improve teaching and understanding of a drill. Your athletes will succeed at such a higher level and you will be such better coach for it.
If you have questions or comments about this feel free share or let me know. As always I am available to help take your athletes to a higher level of success and performance.
Jeff Miller, Owner/Head Performance Coach
Absolute Fitness and Sports Performance