Creating new stimulus in your training environment is an under estimated and under utilised skill.
There is a genuine need for regular and consistent training especially when it comes to core skill development, but there are multiple opportunities to alter the stimulus not only within drills but within the structure of the session or out of sessions.
Within drills you you can change width, depth, number of players, rules of games etc which are easy to do but there are also other ways to create different stimulus such as thinking and awareness. For example, a simple flat line passing drill can be turned into a challenging thinking and awareness drill by throwing in more balls and having the rule that any one person can not have more than one ball at a time. I ran a drill as part of a recovery block between fitness sets yesterday where seven players were in a flat line passing drill with four balls. All of a sudden the comms increased and the awareness of what was happening either side of them increased.
Other forms of stimulus outside of the actual drills can include game sense and awareness questions just prior to sessions when players are arriving and getting kitted up. TheCoachingLab.org have Reflection Matchplay Cards and these simply provide reflective questions for individuals or groups around a multitude of topics that relate to anything from how mentally positive the player is going into the session to who inspired them today to thinking of a super hero trait that they would like in the sport. These will definitely be something I hand out to players before and after training sessions, at meals, or in team meetings with the Wallaroos.
Other forms of stimulus include quizzes, small group chats, player presentations, and other team and sport analysis around non-sport specific elements such as body language, comms if you can get player or coach audio, or group cohesion.
We can learn so much and make it interesting if we are aware of the need for different training and thinking stimulus, and we balance out the monotonous, repetitive essential work with some fun and maybe quirky learning formats.
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