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Increase the Foundational Integrity for Sport Practice Through a Quantitative Approach

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James Smith

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The words and dialogue used to differentiate one sport's practice, tactical and strategic preparation, from the next are nothing more than jargon.

The jargon serves an obvious utility function, however, underneath the pick and roll (basketball), quick ball (rugby), 4-3 defensive front (American football), 1-4-4-1 flat diamond (Football), or the forecheck (Ice Hockey), exists the decisions, communication, and actions that are the foundations of sport tactical execution. 

The future of optimizing tactical preparation lies in fortifying its foundations during sport practice; which at present, are tantamount to planning a trans oceanic sailing voyage without knowledge of nautical navigation. 

The contents of sport practice must be quantified for the purposes of optimal learning, tactical and technical development, and physical peaking; and the argument you are presented with here encourages that you use a mathematical approach. 

When we drill down past the tactical/technical jargon we are left with factors related to psychology, cognition, neurophysiology, biodynamics and bioenergetics. When we drill down further to the structural and neuromuscular foundations of sport practice we are able to speak plainly about the readily quantitative nature of biodynamics,  bioenergetics, and biomotor outputs. Lastly, from the standpoint of optimizing the engineering of sport practice from day to day and week to week we arrive at factors related to the intensity, volume, and frequency of work performed in practice. The intensity being the metric of primary importance. 

The intensity of your athletes motion during sport practice implicates the neuromuscular, structural, and physiological cost of the work. Note the use of the word 'cost', which is used to explain the price that every athlete pays as the intensity of their motion increases (in contact/combat, wrestling, swinging, batting, kicking, shooting, passing, throwing, skating, rowing, swimming, cycling, jumping, sprinting, braking, changing directions...). Sport practice is work, and the intensity of motion is a product of force and velocity. From this one may derive the equations for work, force, power, velocity, acceleration, momentum, impulse, impact ,and more, which provide an abundance of metrics to quantify sport practice to levels of accuracy that exceed what is currently, and has been, done by over one order of magnitude. 

Consider your introduction to this mode of analytical thinking to begin with the bioenergetic foundations of sport practice motion and how, once the jargon is surpassed, the energetic foundation of sport practice is described in terms of the power, capacity, and efficiency of the alactic, lactic, aerobic, and mixed energy systems that, from a physiological perspective, provide the resources necessary for the athlete's muscles to contract- a precursor for your athlete's motion. 

The mathematics of engineering the bioenergetics of sport practice quantitatively approaches the intensity of competition itself by way of starting with shorter quantities of competition duration, longer quantities/or more total quantities, of competition duration, or an aggregate of the two and are described in "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching". This quantitative approach to practice will create a level of foundational integrity that will improve your team/athlete's competitive success in ways you might not have yet imagined. 

Note, the structural integrity and dimensions of the foundation determine the magnitude and type of what's built on top of it. Your team/athlete's competitive success depends upon the foundational integrity of their preparation for competition. 

Caution:

  • A parochial interpretation of this may perceive what began as a sport coaching discussion has shifted to a fitness related discussion. If this has happened to you, this is evidence of the Balkanization of knowledge in sport which wrongly divides coaching into factions.

While objectively, what is being discussed here began as, and has remained, sport coaching because your athlete's psychological state informs how they process sensory input, think, decide, and access their working memory. All of which heavily impacts their tactical execution and the motion aspect of their tactical execution, which is their technical execution, is a product of bioenergetics, biodynamics, and biomotor outputs. This continuum exists under the future of sport coaching as defined in The Governing Dynamics of Coaching

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