Adriaan de Groot: It is evident that experience is the foundation of the superior achievement of the masters
I had a relaxing weekend that allowed me some free time to watch a little football. As I was watching the Notre Dame v. Pittsburgh game, I noticed something that happened very early in that game. Notre Dame had the football, quarterback Deshone Kizer (who happens to be a redshirt Freshmen with 7 starts under his belt) drops back to pass, and get blindsided by the boundary corner who came untouched on the blitz. His experience prevented him from "feeling" this pressure. After taking that hit, I bet he will be much more aware when that situation arises again.
In a game like baseball, pitching machines are used often for batters to get extra reps in at the cage. Recently, there has been a change of thought in regards to using pitching machines. At the major league level, a baseball takes takes 400 milliseconds to reach home plate. A person's reaction time is 200 milliseconds. That leaves only 200 milliseconds of time for the batter to figure out what the heck kind of pitch if being thrown at him. BUT, the batter is able to take in the full view. He is able to look at the pitcher standing on the mound. He can watch the pitcher windup. He can view the pictures arm action right. He can watch the hand before the ball is thrown. All of these acts are used by the batter to help identify what pitch will be thrown. When you use a pitching machine, you lose almost all of that sensory information. It is just you and a Jugs machine. The ball comes out of the same spot every time. There is no variance from the throwing machine in regards to pitch type. It makes me wonder how much those machines help in game situations.
In all sports, simulation is a huge part of practice. I am sure Notre Dame "walked-through" that play at some point during game preparation. I am sure that Deshone has seen that play a few times over the course of his playing career. What he did not see is that specific player perform the blitz at full speed. Taking in the full view of each play or pitch is an important component to achieving mastery in your given sport. Beyond skill training, practice should put players in tough situations where they don't have time to think and just react. Unfortunately for Deshone Kizer, the only way to see some things is during competition. Lucky for him and the Irish, he stayed healthy and went on to account for 6 TDs in the victory.
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!