The Talent Code Author Daniel Coyle talks about skateparks as the ultimate learning environments:
“For flexible skills…the practice space should resemble a really fun skateboard park: lots of self-directed action at an endless variety of obstacles where you make lots of errors and learn a little something from each of them. Most flexible skills ideally don’t require a coach, but rather an addictive space to ‘play.'”
What would a volleyball practice look like if it was designed more like a skatepark? Instead of repeating a regimen of drills, players are encouraged to freely experiment within the game. Would it increase skill development? Innovation? Fun?
This is part 2 or our conversation with Professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez and we dive more into practice and perseverance. We discuss this video clip from Train Ugly – http://trainugly.com/what-learning-looks-like/
The skater attempts a trick over and over, pushing through pain and frustration. According to Paul, this is the everyday struggle of every skateboarder trying to learn. If you’re not going through this struggle, you’re just going through the motions. And it’s a process that never stops.
“The rush of…You’ve seen it in your mind, try to create it over and over and finally land it, bringing pictures in your mind into reality, you finally roll away. It’s all worth it.”
“That’s what makes a real champion,” Paul says. Someone who isn’t willing to give up on themselves. “It’s a way of life, a mentality, a spirit that someone embodies…It’s the bounce back.”
We also get into Paul’s self-talk during competition. He uses anchors or short trigger-phrases, he repeats again and again on his run. Not focusing on the full trick but one little part. He repeats that single focus in his mind and the rest of the trick follows.
It reminds me how many different steps go into each volleyball skill. Serve receive, for example, follows a long chain from getting information from the server and tracking the ball…to how you move your feet…to setting the angle of your platform…to the contact point on your arms…to your follow-through…then moving into a position to approach for a swing…and on and on. And it all happens in a split-second!
Taken as a whole it can be overwhelming. But if you concentrate on a trigger (“See the server”) you don’t get ahead of yourself, only focusing on your first job—the only one you can take care of in that moment—and allow the rest to follow.
As Paul shifts into a new career and challenges, he’s confident he’ll carry the persistence and dedication he’s learned from skateboarding with him. Not being afraid to fail.
And when he does crash, picking himself up and going again.
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