Drilling vs Play for Sporting Performance

When it comes to the debate over drilling vs playing a sport, the arguments are passionate on both sides. Should you spend time on drilling movements in isolation, or is the dynamic environment of playing a better choice? Should you be looking at rugby drill videos or just getting straight into the game?

drilling using a medicine ball

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It’s interesting to hear experts in various fields put forward their views. Kit Dale, a prominent Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, is one example of someone who is staunchly anti-drilling, while Gianni Grippo is in the other camp, believing that drilling improves muscle memory in a way that resistive play does not.

Both Have Their Place

The important thing about drilling is that it offers people a chance to practise situations that they may not otherwise be exposed to. For example, in rugby you can drill a specific pass or play, while if you were to play the game, you may never have a chance to see that scenario. Repping it out a few dozen times in a training session will make it something that you are familiar with. Playing the game, you are more likely to fall back on things you already know well. This means that when faced with unfamiliar strategies or a different opponent, your game will fall apart.

Playing Something New

The same goes for other sports – in a combat sport, when will you ever learn how to attack if you are thrown into the deep end? Drilling is vital for beginners because it lets them focus on technique instead of trying to win. For more experienced people it offers a chance to refine of techniques that you already know well. Repeated exposure to patterns and techniques is a must, and drilling skills in isolation helps to build the unconscious competence that is required to perform well when under pressure.

A good coach will encourage team members to both drill and play. By finding ways to make drilling more interesting, you can motivate your team. Why not go to sportplan.net to review a rugby drill video on defensive patterns or plays, and find a way to incorporate it into your practice?

You may be surprised at how much impact drilling those patterns will have on your team and their ability to pull off the strategies in a game.

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