Thursday, 7 June 2012

What Novak Djokovic can teach us about developing skill

Check out this fantastic video of Novak Djokovic training at home. (Thanks to Dan Coyle and his fantastic thetalentcode blog for putting me on to this).

Novak's coach has created a game that challenges Novak physically, mentally and really pushes the limits of his skill. Watch how intently they play and the various tactics and techniques they employ to try and win.

It is this kind of game that really builds skill, these kind of practices absorb the athlete in the moment and they learn without knowing it. Compare this with the kind of training that you would see in a lot of tennis clubs with players mindlessly rallying with their coach or hitting ground strokes without any competitive pressure.

You might say that you have to build the basics before you can do this kind of thing but you will be surprised if you gave this game to a group of kids they would get success pretty quickly. I played a very similar game as this in my playground aged 8 but instead of racquets we used our hands and instead of a net we had a chalk line. You waited your turn and when you got on the court you had to keep winning to stay on or join the back of the queue again! We got good really quickly!


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