13 October, 2015

Putting Tactical and Technical Skills together

Putting Tactical and Technical Skills together

So now you have an understanding of how World War 2 returning soldiers bought back the technical teaching method and then the process that athletes go through to achieve that ‘Woohoo! Moment’, let’s put a few things into practice.

Lets define a few things as well first up though, because I know I might be introducing a few new concepts and words in this. You might also want to flick between the blog on teaching via the technical approach and the four stages of competence as well.

When we talk about a player with good skills we mean that they have the ability to execute the techniques at the right time and place.

Technical: Techniques are made up of lots of individual movements of the body. These movements of the body require different motor control competency levels to move the body in the correct way. For example kicking a soccer ball on the ground when it is stationery is relatively simple, however kicking a soccer ball that is bouncing towards an athlete is more complex and requires more motor control.

Tactical: Executing the skill at the right place and right time refers to the tactical aspects. This is where decisions and actions are required to be made by the athletes to achieve a result. The athlete requires through their mental ability and knowledge to produce the action. So the soccer player kicking the ball might be able to kick the ball perfectly, but when it comes to a game environment, they turn it over as they cannot read the play and place the ball in front of a leading player.

So to truly understand how to improve an athletes skill level, then an understanding of deficiencies in the technical or tactical aspects need to be identified.

The learning process

The learning process is also really interesting and something that I feel coaches need to get a good grasp of. Learning is a process of relative improvement over time. Learning can occur due to a number of factors, it might be due to increases in skill level, maturation and the increased strength and ability to therefore kick further or could be impacted by injury or other external factors. To say that learning has occurred, we are looking for a relatively permanent improvement in performance.

Mistakes and errors are a natural part of the learning process. In play, we adjust, adapt and eventually learn how to do it. But sometimes in competition the mistakes and errors are seen as a failure to perform. For youth athletes in particular we need to ensure that these mistakes and errors are reinforced as being a positive experience to learn rather than a negative experience, which isolates the athlete and decreases their motivation to participate.

Ultimately what we are trying to achieve with our players is the ability to perform the skills and drills without thinking about it - unconscious competence. The way in which we introduce technical and tactical skills can have a huge impact on how quickly our athletes ‘get it’ or become frustrated with their rate of learning.

So there is a bit of an introduction into developing technical and tactical skills through an understanding of the learning process and linked to the stages towards unconscious competence.

I would encourage you to find a skill that you are teaching your athletes at the moment, which they are struggling with. Break it down into technical and tactical parts. Look at where they are in the learning process and hopefully you can find some answers to where to start addressing their weaknesses.

© 2019 Paul Mead