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Pattern Recognition

by Charlie Reznikoff

Psychologist John Dewey debunked a commonly held belief called the stimulus-response reflex arc: you see something, you decide what to do, you respond. Instead, Dewey proposed, you only see what you have a mental framework for; this framework contains your response within it. In other words, your response exists before you see the stimulus. Many players have the experience of knowing they've thrown the goal before the disc leaves their hands, or "seeing" the lay out D before it happens. Great players don't scan the field for openings. That takes too long. Great players recognize the beginning of a pattern that they can complete to their favor. Learning this pattern recognition takes experience, a good system, and focused drilling. No doubt, some players naturally learn quicker than others, and previous sports experience helps. Usually, though, the quick learners are the ones at practice working hard. 

Sports Psychologist Alan Goldberg warns against asking players to think on the field. A player should not "see" the field in that sense. In the huddle don't ask your team to do anything other than rely on its training. Team leaders should examine every drill, even (especially) the mindless warm up patterns. Those drills teach your team the patterns it will later use to read the field. If you want to throw to receivers cutting to space, don't run the "straight on attack" drill. If you want to throw hucks from the middle of the field, don't run the sideline huck drill. If you want to throw continuation swings after a dump, include that in your reset drill. To better read poaches, try scrimmaging 7(o) on 8(d) with the extra man poaching. Unless you've drilled it, your players won't see it. And if you've drilled it wrong, they'll do it wrong. Whatever your team is not "seeing" tells you, the team leader, where you need to drill differently. 

huddle Issue 29 Field Vision

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

A Little Perspective
by Mark Earley

Closing Your Eyes To Open Them
by Josh Greenough

  Understanding The Information
by Greg Husak

Yeah Iverson, We're Talkin' About Practice
by Ryan Morgan

Play A Different Position
by Ted Munter

Learn To Think so You Don't Have To Think
by Jim Parinella

Pattern Recognition
by Charlie Reznikoff





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