Practice v. instruction

Just completed the ASA ACE certification test, first level. Passed it too, in case you were wondering. I know I railed a few weeks ago about people being forced to take it, but hey, you do what you gotta do.

It’s pretty simple, mostly common sense. If you’ve been dreading it, don’t. Many of you could probably take the test and pass it without first watching the video. It’s on a par with traffic school — an online program I know well, unfortunately.

There was one question, though, whose answer I disagree with. Actually it’s the phrasing of the question. The point they’re trying to make is instruct/talk less, let the players do more. I agree with that. But what they ask is will players learn more by practicing, or by instruction/talking? Or something to that effect. Their answer is by doing.

That’s not necessarily true. You can practice a long time and with great sincerity on doing things wrong, and become good at being bad. Kids who throw with their elbows below their shoulders get to be pretty good at it, but it’s not a skill that will take you very far. Seems to me that poor throwing mechanics make you easier to cut in tryouts. They usually mean you blow a play at a crucial time.

Before you can practice effectively, you need quality instruction. Otherwise, you’re like most guys driving. When we get lost, we’ll troll around for hours rather than ask for directions. Eventually we get to where we want to go, but sometimes we miss the party.

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