Drills are the drugs of coaching (from a recovering addict!)


Unopposed drills are the drugs of coaching...

...a lot of coaches are addicted to them...

they are like alcoholics or maybe 'drill-aholics'...they just can't get away from the lure of the drill.

Deep down, they know that the drill is not doing their athletes any good but they keep getting called back to them...it makes them feel better...it offers warm relief...it is safe...they can feel good about themselves.

Why are they so addicted to drills? If you ask a 'drill-aholic' why they use them then they will say the following

  • Drills give lots of repetitions

  • Drills let participants gain a feeling of success and build confidence

  • Drills allow for movements to be embedded into 'muscle memory'

  • Drills are the grounding for techniques that can then be built upon in games.

But if they are really honest with themselves...they would probably have to admit that the real reason they like drills is because:

  • They are structured and organised.

  • It makes the parents think that the coach knows what they are doing

  • They love creating them and working out the movement and the choreography.

  • It's comfortable and easy

  • It's what they have always done.

I know this because...I was one of them...I was one of the biggest drill addicts out there!

At the end of a session that involved a load of drills, I would feel that I had delivered a good session. Parents were smiling at me, the kids had moved around a lot, they even have got better at the drill itself and were pretty pleased with themselves.

Everyone was feeling pretty good about the situation...everyone was happy...everyone was on a high.

I got that euphoric 'hit' of dopamine and the feel good factor that I had done my job...I have delivered a session...I am a good coach...

Happy customers and happy coach...what's not to like?

But I was deluding myself....worse, I was poisoning myself!

Just like alcohol or drugs ...if they are used too much, they become toxic.

They destroyed my coaching creativity, they killed my ability to think critically, innovate and improve...drills are numbing...they dull the senses...they reduce the user to a limited version of themselves.

I had box files full of drills that I had painstakingly drawn out and described. I would have my favourites and would go to them time and again. It was tried and tested, it worked...

Except it didn't...

If the players couldn't perform the drill I would get frustrated at their lack of application or lack of attention to detail. If they weren't focused or engaged by the activity I would demand better application. It wasn't the drill was boring, it was their lack of application and it was my job to get them to apply themselves.

My addiction made me behave in ways that disconnected me from the participants...I lost sight of what they wanted or needed and focused on