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Space, Time and Numbers in American Football Drills

By Andy Ryland, USA Football, 01/11/19, 12:00PM CST

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To challenge and therefore grow processing and decision-making skills, coaches often need to stretch the athletes. The three most common and easiest to use stressors are: space, time and numbers.

I have been writing a good bit about how sporting actions are preceded by a movement or skill choice. In the article “The vision-decision-action cycle and American football drills,” I outlined some key points and factors in this process. In “Decision in the VDA cycle: How quick decision making creates quicker athletes,” I dug deeper into how quicker information processing and decision-making skills are vitally important for sports performance and are often categorized as new or different skills such as “football IQ” or “game speed.”

So now the question follows: How do we train these abilities? And while I am not a sports scientist or a PhD, I’d like to share a few of my favorite means to do this from an applied coaching side. To begin the conversation, we first must discuss the difference between specificity and transfer.