Home » By Mark Lebedew: How Much Is One Repetition Worth?

By Mark Lebedew: How Much Is One Repetition Worth?

by WoV
source: source: marklebedew.com; Photo: CEV

The first day I studied coaching at university we were introduced to the Principles of Training.  The most important of these for learning were, and are, repetition and specificity.  The importance of these principles is self evident.  To get good at something you need to do it over and over again.  You need many repetitions.  You get good at something, you need to do it over and over again.  You need to do specifically want you want to get better at.  Shortly after noting that principles were self evidently important, it occurred to me that they were also mutually exclusive.  The most specific practice you can do is to simply play a game.  But then you have the minimum number of repetitions.  Maximum speficity = minimum repetitions.  Conversely, if you do the most number of repetitions, you have to take them a long way from the game.  Maximum repetitions = minimum specificity.  It continues to strike me that the art of coaching is finding the balance between those two competing goals.

Mark Lebedew – Photo: CEV

It is relatively easy to raise the number of (more or less) specific repetitions during practice through various 6 v 6 practice forms, although that number of repetitions is never particularly high for any individual player.  Certainly not as high as it could be by reducing specificity through using more drill forms.  The question arises how much are any of these repetitions worth in comparison to each other. Is a game repetition worth twice as much a drill repetition.  That is, does it create twice the learning effect.  Or three times, or ten times? Is an individual spike against a full court defence the same as a spike in a 6 v 6 form, or only nearly as good, or even half as good?  Is four service receptions in a 6 v 6 form better, worse or the same as 20 service receptions in an individual drill form? Or are the margins much smaller? Is a specific repetition only small margins better than a non specific one?

My personal feeling, based on experience, is that the specific repetition is several times more effective.

About Mark Lebedew:

Mark Lebedew – Photo: CEV

Mark Lebedew authors the At Home on the Court Blog. He coaches professionally in Poland, from january 2021 with eWinner Gwardia Wrocław, in season 2019/20 with Aluron Virtu CMC Warta Zawiercie and in the period 2015-2018 with KS Jastrzębski Węgiel. That follows five seasons Germany where his Berlin Recycling Volleys won three straight league titles and a CEV Champions League bronze medal. He has prior professional experience in Belgium and Italy. Mark was also Head Coach for the Australian Men’s National Team. From 2021/2022 leads VfB Friedrichshafen, while in 2022 he led the Slovenian national team during the Volleyball Nations League.

Mark partnered with his brother and father to translate and publish “My Profession: The Game“, the last book by legendary Russian coach, Vyacheslav Platonov.

With John Forman, he is behind the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project (link http://volleyballcoachingwizards.com/) which identifies great coaches from all levels, making their experience, insights, and expertise available to people all over the world. The project has produced multiple books, a in e-book format available here ( link to http://bit.ly/34yakou ) or at Amazon here (link https://amzn.to/2JRqTE6).

In 2021, he launched project Webinars and Presentations on Demand. If you are interested for coaching presentations and webinars available on demand, click here.

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