This is a fairly old article, but one that bears continual revisiting.
Researchers looked at perception and elite performance and found all sorts of clues that the elite see things more clearly and decisively (and can therefore respond earlier) than novices (I’d suggest Blink if you’re looking for a more in-depth treatment of the matter). They also found that things like field sense are absolutely not innate, and suggest that free, unstructured play is key to getting the experience and developing a broad, flexible sense as opposed to a narrow-minded one. Check out this blog post for a bit on the difference between explicit and implicit learning–remove coaching and especially structure from the equation, and you tend towards the implicit–given that something like “field sense” is rarely taught explicitly (if I asked you to explain “field sense” to me–what to look for, when, what leads you to make one decision over another–would you be able to do it? In a way I could understand and apply?), you need to go the other way.
As frustrating as low-level, amoeba play (or loosely organized summer league, etc.) can be, or as much as you might think your disc-using non-ultimate games (I’m thinking of boot in particular, but schtick counts too in its own way) are not going to help you improve, recognize the opportunity inherent in these games. Try throws and strategies you wouldn’t normally. Experiment with new positioning and decision-making processes. Expand your repertoire and your mind.
What sorts of games do you play to grow?
A little busy at work (need to prep a class on Christmas) and a little starved for inspiration of late…but check out this RSD thread on throwing with touch I posted in a couple weeks back.
My opinion is already there, but there appears to be some dissention. What’s yours? How did you learn about throwing with touch? How have you taught (or would teach) others?
I usually tell rookie throwers to think about throwing to a point on the field, rather than passing on a line that includes said point (ie, throwing to space), and that at least goes towards taking the laser out. Please chime in with your own experiences.
This topic’s been simmering in my mind since the start of the fall. It stems from all of the (or rather, the lack of) A/B team interaction: Basically, how can we be more effective in terms of ‘diffusion of knowledge’, helping newer, less experienced players to benefit from the knowledge that veteran players have accumulated and come to take for granted?
I certainly feel like there’s a lot that can be done. It starts with mixed A/B scrimmaging; while some higher-level players might not like the decrease in competitiveness this brings, I think it provides a good opportunity for the mid-tier players to get a chance being in control of an offense or defense, making plays and throws they wouldn’t normally risk in a high-level game where every turn counts–a good tool for developing confidence (another topic I plan to post on at a later date). And for the B-teamers, you give the higher-level guys a chance to test and improve their skills by matching up against A-level guys, and for lower-level guys they get the chance to play in situations where plays the average B-teamer wouldn’t make are now very doable (like the huck, for example), letting them develop more dimensions to their game and also giving them a chance to observe how the experienced players play, a great learning tool for those who apply themselves.
There’s definitely more that can be done outside of just mixed scrimmaging though. I feel like there’re a lot of guys on the A-team who know a lot about how to play, but either keep the knowledge to themselves or aren’t really sure how to communicate what they know. In either case, I think it’s pretty important to stress to the veterans that they at least make an effort to teach. You might not think you know a lot, but I’ll wager that more often than not that a short, relatively simple explanation can carry a lot of meaning for somebody who has little experience.
For example, I helped a few guys with their throws, specifically their forehands. Having just spent a large part of my summer working on improving my throwing, I had a pretty good idea of what goes into a good throw. Just by offering a few simple pointers–grip the disc this way, snap your wrist at this point, etc–and letting them work out the practical application on their own, they improved a lot pretty quickly.
You might not think that you know a lot, but every little bit can make a big difference in the long run. Just think, I’m sure you’ve had moments where somebody offered you a simple piece of advice that really helped everything come together for you. It’s no different now. Offer advice when you can, and it’ll add up and make the whole team much improved.