What Is Deep Practice?
Deep Practice is really your state of mind or how focused you are on what you’re working on in practice. The more focused you are on what you’re working on in your practice session, the faster you will develop your skills.
Deep Practice with Volleyball Power Hitting Mechanics
Let’s say you’re working on improving your hitting mechanics. Following Daniel Coyle’s three rules of deep practice from his book The Talent Code, let's put this concept into your practice routine.
Deep Practice Rules
- Chunk it Up
- Repeat It
- Feel It
To Chunk it Up means to break down the overall volleyball power hitting mechanics into small manageable chunks you can stay focused on.
For example, in the PC360 Volleyball Power Hitting Introductory Clinic, we showed you how the best hitters in the world use their entire body to create & tolerate maximal hitting power.
Remember, we discussed how they start unwind from the Reverse Power C Position by: 1) first kicking their feet, 2) turning their hips, 3) turning their chest & shoulders, and 4) swing their hitting arm through the ball with great speed.
Trying to work on all of those complex movements at once is really challenging and not recommended as it’s just too much. To simplify and speed the learning process we break the overall movement down into smaller movement chunks by focusing on just the arm swing movements.
We taught you to focus on just moving your hitting arm and hand underneath your chin to put your arm and hitting shoulder in a better position to hit with power. We had you perform this movement over-and-over while you were completely focused moving the arm slowly & correctly. This is chunking...
Next you need to Repeat It, many, many times staying focused on the quality or exactness of the movement.
Finally we wanted you to try to see if you could feel the exact movement of the hitting arm and hand as you moved it slowly through space so you could Feel It. Feeling it allows you to know when you’re moving the arm & hand correctly and it actually speeds the learning process.
In most team practices, all of the athletes are working on a variety of tasks which makes it difficult to focus on any single task such as how to move your hitting arm correctly.
This is one of the reasons why a motivated athlete has to work and train their sports movements outside of practice if they truly want to improve their skills. It’s a process that takes a lot of time, repetitions & focus!
Athletes who can Feel It when they are moving their arm, shoulder or any body part can speed their development faster than athletes who cannot. When they can feel the correct and in-correct movements, they can sense bad movements and self-correct them. This speeds the learning process for the athlete.
When athletes always move the hitting arm fast, in an effort to improve arm speed, it may speed up the arm but may create less than ideal mechanics because the athlete isn't performing the arm swing correctly.
The brain and body will learn whatever movements you perform and repeat over-and-over as it doesn’t know good from bad (unless of course the movement hurts and you pay attention to the pain & discomfort).
So while in the PC360 clinic and in your follow-up training you should now better understand why we have you perform the arm swing (or other body movements) slowly with your complete focus on the correct slow movements, performed so many times. This is to speed the learning process by Chunking it Up, Repeating It and Feeling It so you use Deep Practice to help you learn the movements faster and better than your competitors!