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UK Coaching Team
Rapport Building and Communicating Developing Mindsets

The Art of Practice: Intentional Training a Model Way of Embedding New Skills

Dan Abrahams is a former professional golfer and golf coach who is now forging a successful career as a qualified sports psychologist and author. Headhunted by Eddie Jones to work with the England rugby team, he is also employed by Premier League side AFC Bournemouth. Blake Richardson picks his brain on the importance of training with mental intensity, and explores Dan’s concept of ‘intentional training’ and how to embed its principles into your coaching practice

The volume of high-profile international coaches who extol the benefits of incorporating a psychological approach to training continues to grow.

The belief that mental conditioning is as crucial as physical conditioning is fast becoming accepted as a universal truth.

When sports psychologist Dan Abrahams was invited to become the England rugby team’s ‘mind guru’ building up to the World Cup in Japan in 2019, it was the coming together of two kindred spirits, with head coach Eddie Jones a self-confessed sports psychology aficionado.

Dan doesn’t deal in psychobabble. Psychoprofitable is an altogether more apt term to describe his methods.

His number one topic of interest is the controversial link between practice and excellence and its fundamental role in developing new skills and making them stick.

And he was only too pleased to share his views.

Quality of practice determines rate of progress

Dan is convinced that an intention to train hard and improve, and then act on those intentions with physical intensity, is not nearly enough. To develop permanent new skills, what performers must do is train intentionally. There is a hugely significant difference between the two.

More than simply giving your all physically, intentional training is when performers practice with purpose, with focus and with intelligence.

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UK Coaching Team