Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How Much Is Too Much?

In response to the last post a question came up about the lower divisions. The gist of the question was: Isn't it too much to expect from the lower divisions (attempting to train full field preparation) when they're still working on mastering even more basic elements of play? The answer of course is no. The real issue is how you go about it and what expectations you bring to the process. That doesn't mean there isn't any limit to what you can expect your team to learn--only that you don't intentionally leave important stuff out or assume some element of the game is beyond your players to at least understand. Both understanding and mastery are perpetual goals.
At a practical level however there are some easy do's and don'ts. Regardless of the game phase you're working through never overwhelm players with theory. The baseline is to tell them what they need to do. (As individuals focus on technique and as a team focus on objectives.) If (when) somebody asks why then explain in as simple and rudimentary a fashion as possible and move on. Core fundamentals are learned by repetition. (Always making certain those reps accurately simulate game play as closely as possible.) At some point the question of why will come again because you're first answer wasn't responsive enough for the more cerebral of your players. (For those willing to simply do and those willing to do with a basic explanation they know what they need to--for now.) Here is the time and place for a fuller explanation of theory--but note it's provided only to those otherwise unsatisfied with the information already given. In most situations the majority don't require--and aren't helped by--information overload.
The other difficulty that arises is the time and resource cost and how many times they must be divided in order to cover all the training territory desired. It is a real and unavoidable problem for nearly every team at every level but I am of the opinion that in the long run everyone benefits from a more (rather than a less) ambitious and fully realized practice regime even if less time and resources are committed to some aspects of the training. It's like training a boxer how to punch but failing to teach him how to defend himself. Of course the offense is critical but his results will certainly vary until he learns the rest of the pugilistic art. So too with paintball. Cover the full scope of a long term training scheme into place from Day 1 and the players and team will grow into a fully rounded team that much sooner.
Keeping in mind too that the guiding conception doesn't preclude periods of more or less intensity in various aspects of that training.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's kind of strange because when we started out back in the woods, I think there was more of an emphasis on strategy, how the game would play out, etc.

Maybe this is what's lost in the smaller fields, smaller team sizes, repetitive point concept where you pretty much play the same couple of positions every point. Now you worry about technique where before you worried about primaries, secondaries, what spots you take on the other teams 40, how you'd close the game out, etc. Of course, those plans would rarely work out, but you were at least thinking of how you'd close the game out and what spots you need to work toward in order to do that.

It seems foreign to me that's now how others approach a field these days.

Is the player strategy these days really just to make your spot alive and shoot your gun without getting hit?