“This is not ordinary practice. This is something else; a highly targeted, error-focused process. Something is growing, being built.”

Intro & Chapter 1 Takeaways
  • Definition of Talent
  • Deep Practice Skill-Development
  • Futsal and Sport Innovation to Challenge/Accelerate Skill-Development

Talent defined by author Coyle, as the possession of repeatable skills that don’t depend on physical size. Identifying The Talent Code introduces the conversation innate versus skill-development. There is an underlying acceptance in the book regarding intrinsic cultural/geographical characteristics that are conducive to talent possession. However, talent is generated via Deep Practice:

“Struggling in certain targeted ways – operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes – makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you’re forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them.”

Brazil organized a sport/activity during the 1930s known as futebol de salão (translated as “football in a room”). Known today as futsal, the game is comparable to soccer played with a ball smaller than regulation size on a field with dimensions similar to a basketball court. Due to the shortened field; it is played with more pace than a traditional soccer game at a rate where athletes are forced to make quicker decisions with higher dependency on precision and touch. The innovation of futsal has played a significant role in skill-development for youth soccer players in the country of Brazil – where some of the most world-renown soccer players got their start.

Coaching Application

Is there a game/activity that is comparable in the sport of basketball?

How do we apply limitations that challenge athletes in a simulated setting to later apply with confidence in a regular-season game?

Immediate thought that comes to mind is in the form of Single-Sided-Games (SSGs) that is oft used in the form of 1v1 to 3v3 games. To apply limitations to the game coaches will likely force a side where athletes are to start, or simulate a certain action prior to going full-speed. Another youth-related activity that implies a similar training is “Dribble Tag.” Most coaches that have ever worked a camp before has seen it, but

Something that comes to mind when I was a kid is a game my friends and I made up called “And-One”. I have no idea how it got started, likely because we got so accustomed to simply yelling “And-1”  driving to the lane regardless of result or even, actual contact. Nonetheless, a couple teammates and I would get together at a hoop prior to practice and play to 5 buckets where the only way you could score would be to make a basket while getting fouled from an opposing player. It would force us to initiate contact, play through it, and find a creative way of still getting the ball up to the rim. By no means was this a game condoned by the staff. We usually played prior to coaches stepping on the floor. But it was a game that I think helped us in some capacity regarding finishing around the rim and playing through contact. This is on a very small-scale related to futsal or single-side games, but I think activities like And-One can have skill-developing traits if applied in a challenging and competitive way.

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