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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance Improving Physical Ability

Learning to Move Skilfully: Periodisation of Skills Training

In the third of a four-part series, UK Coaching Senior Coach Developer Marianne Davies introduces some ideas about how we can identify what phase of skill development an athlete or participant might be in, and how to use this to design effective practice sessions using the Periodisation of Skills Training framework. This article was written with support from Fabian Otte

On my first coach education training course we spent a lot of time learning about practice design planning. The main idea was that we would choose a skill to coach, start by coaching the skill in isolation, then add some variability, and finish with something that put the skill to a purpose once it had been learnt. Like a game or a journey.

The logic behind this approach was that it allowed the learner to become skilful by progressively building the complexity of the skill.

As participants and athletes became more skilful over time, their practice would change. More time would be spent in more realistic (representative) environments, but essentially still following the same basic principles.

However, the goal changed from learning the skills using high levels of conscious (cognitive) effort, toward trying to make the skills automatic and second nature to the participant.

This is an example of how many of us learn to periodise skills training during single sessions and over longer periods of time, perhaps weeks, months or even years.

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UK Coaching Team