The purpose of a demonstration is to increase the players’ understanding of the skill by providing an accurate model from which to learn. For players to make appropriate decisions on how to execute skills, coaches need to provide an explanation and a demonstration so that players can learn and practise. An effective skill demonstration requires careful planning by the coach. Consider the following:
Why is the skill important
Understanding the importance of the skill in the context of the sport and competition will assist both the coach and player in teaching and learning the skill.
How will the skill be demonstrated
Select an appropriate method of teaching the skill, taking into account the type of skill and the experience and ability of the players. Generally, it is recommended that the whole skill should be demonstrated first to show the players what the skill would look like when performed correctly. Then the skill is broken down into various skill components (whole-part-whole). Remember players need to be able to observe the demonstration at different angles. Show both left and right-handed ways to execute the skill. Make a note in your session plan of 2-3 teaching points and some key words or phrases used to emphasise important parts of the skill. Keep the instructions simple and avoid the use of jargon where possible. Athletes should be asked to concentrate on only one or two aspects of the skill at any one time.
What equipment will be reguired
Coaches need to determine what equipment will be required to give an effective demonstration and ensure that appropriate equipment is available and ready to use when the time comes. For example if you are using a video have everything set up ready to press ‘play’ before you start the session.
Where will the skills be demonstrated
When planning your demonstration, take into account any possible distractions for your players such as the position of the sun or bright lights. Depending on how many players there are, decide on an appropriate formation, which enables them all to see and hear the demonstration clearly. One of the most common and effective formations is a semi-circle with the coach or demonstrator standing in front.
Where will the demonstration take place
The most obvious time to give a demonstration is when the players are learning a new skill, this should take place early in the training session while the players’ minds and bodies are relatively ‘fresh’. Demonstrations can also be used when giving feedback, or to remind players of a previously learned skill. It can also be useful to repeat the demonstration at the end of training so players can be reminded of what to work on.