Monday, October 19, 2009

Performing on Stage

Jeff Robbins, a local coach who I respect greatly, taught me last year that athletes are used to and often expected perform on a stage. This seemed pretty elementary to me, because I have been involved with sport for a while, but when he gave me a pointer to use this knowledge to my advantage when coaching I became very intrigued. What Coach Robbins does is work with athletes of all kinds (primarily pole vaulters) in getting them to recognize their body awareness and kinesthetic sense. Above is a picture of Coach Robins in his element at an inner city school in Boston.

One of Coach Robbin's favorite exercises is to break a large group into groups of 2, 3, 4, or sometimes more athletes to create a "project" using only their bodies. After parameters are set and a specified amount of time is reached, the groups come together and perform their routine in front of the entire group. This is his way of putting the athletes on stage to perform their best and it really is amazing. Often times groups undergo relatively difficult tasks that are not necessarily complete by the end of the time period, but once they are on display in front of their peers, a lot of things come together and they seem to complete, or in some cases improvise, their routine on the fly. A terrific way to learn a lot of things that transfer over to the playing field in sport.

As a coach, if you can find a way for the athletes to perform on a stage, desired outcomes could be reached quicker and learning outcomes may be achieved that otherwise would have been non-existent. I challenge you to find a way to incorporate something into practices that allows for competition on a stage. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow.

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