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Athletic development specialists dedicated to the art and science of excellence in movement

Mastering the Basics: HOW versus WHAT

The HOW is more important than WHAT.  

Execute the basics perfectly.  

People always crave novelty, yet they often need to simply get better at what they're already doing or simply cut away excess from their current program.  The program might look like a new one with the excess cut away, but subtracting is often more important than adding.  

Here's an excerpt from Coach Mike Leach, formerly of Texas Tech and now Washington State these exact points.  Substitute "exercises" for "plays" and it fits perfectly for the gym.  

(For those that don't know, Coach Leach has the unique distinction of holding a JD degree and not playing college football, yet he worked his way into head coaching positions at two major programs and almost won a national championship at the relatively small Texas Tech...you could say I follow his career with keen interest due to a few similarities...)

"One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is over-tweaking the playbook.  They mess themselves up constantly tinkering and putting too much in, or trying to run too many different plays, and they end up overlooking what they really need to do.  It's not about tricks.  It's about execution.  You need to get sharper running the plays in your bag by focusing on technique...

Are our hips too low?  Are we getting our heads around?  Are our eyes in the right place?  Where were our hands?

How can you be precise with all of the detail that's vital to making a play work properly if you're giving them dozens of different plays to digest?  You can't.  We need all of that detail stuff to become second nature, so the players can just react and do precisely what they did in practice.  

Technique is more important than scheme.  People wanna say "Scheme, scheme, scheme."  No matter what plays you run, technique is always more important.  You have a chance with whatever you run if you have great technique.  If you have great scheme and you don't execute it well, you have no chance." (Leach, Swing Your Sword, p. 71)

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