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Implementing New Techniques Into Competition

Last week we addressed the common error of athletes neglecting to train outside of designated practice times. Another error coaches see in athletes is too much focus on smaller elements of form and the body when in action or play.  In practice, coaches will assist athletes in form and technique improvement by breaking down moves to individual actions and outlining the minute movements each body part performs. When it comes to putting all the pieces together, however, athletes too easily become hyper-focused on the small pieces.  When athletes try to implement their learnings into competition, they should shift their focus from all the small pieces to one fluid motion.

CoachUp water polo coach, Mike Byrd, shared this common error with us and elaborated on the concept:

“A shot in water polo, much like a golf swing or a basketball shot, is a complicated movement involving the whole body.  The shot starts in the legs, moves to the core, then to the shoulder and all the way down to the fingertips.  Mastering each individual movement is important, but not nearly as important as making sure the whole act is smooth and momentum is not lost at any point.  After instructing a player on each individual point, I will often tell the athlete to not over-think and just shoot the ball - to keep the whole motion fluid.”

Another element of this inability to “put the pieces together” can be a lack of practice and development in body balance and alignment. Basic exercises that emphasize proper head, spine alignment and core engagement in a given sport position should be built into a training regime by the coach, in addition to drills. These developmental exercises will allow the “pieces” to fall into proper placement and alignment, allowing all the technique work to come together, escalating the athlete’s level of play.

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CoachUp is a website that connects athletes with great private coaches in order to help them reach Another Level in sports + life. With over 7,000 coaches in 60+ sports across the country, CoachUp is the Nation’s leading private coaching company. Their mission is to help kids change the trajectory of their lives through sports.  Book a private sports coach in your area today, visit

Read Part 4 HERE!

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