Dont Steal the Reps from Your Athletes

This blog article is from the website Changeing the Game Project

Don’t Steal the Reps from Your Athletes

by John O'Sullivan

Imagine you went to your child’s algebra class and got to be a fly on the wall. Imagine the teacher was being assessed on your child’s test results in two days. Now imagine that instead of teaching your child how to problem solve, and the concepts behind doing algebra problems, she just took out the answer key and said “here are all the answers. I will put these up on the board during the test so if you can’t do the problems, just put down what I write on the board.”

This is a farcical situation, right? It would never be OK for our child’s math teacher to do this, as we can all agree that no learning would take place. By the same token, if we do our child’s math homework for him every night, we can all agree that he is not learning math, right?

The children are getting the answers and solving the problems, but they are not the ones doing the reps. Yet how often does this happen in sports?

I was listening to a fantastic conversation the other day on my new favorite podcast, Train Ugly’s “The Learner Lab” (you can get all ten episodes of season one here). It is 10 episodes of pure awesomeness if you are interested in how to cultivate a growth mindset, how to learn better and faster, and how to build great cultures and teams. In episode 6 on neuroplasticity, the hosts raise a great point:

In any learning environment, be it sports or school or work, if we want learning to take place, parents and coaches need to be aware of stealing the reps from our children.

They gave a great analogy that bears repeating. Imagine you are in the weight room and doing squats. You put some added weight on the bar, and your goal is to do 10 reps. After three you are really struggling, and your spotter, instead of helping or guiding you, takes the bar from you and does the last 7 on your behalf. It seems like a ludicrous scenario. You needed a spot, perhaps you wanted a bit of assistance, but you didn’t want your spotter to take the bar and complete the task. We can all agree that scenario will not make you stronger or any better at doing squats. Stealing the reps does not help in the weight room.

So why do we think stealing reps helps on the sports field?

In my experience, I think many coaches and parents think they are being the metaphorical spotter. They think they are guiding the young athlete toward improvement, and by fixing her positioning or yelling the correct decision to make they are promoting development. In reality, in many cases, they have stepped in and taken over the bar. They are doing the heavy lifting, and the athlete has his autonomy and decision making stolen from him. 

For complete article follow this  LINK.