Game Sense – IV

By | December 18, 2017

Part Two – Acquisition Phase

During this phase you will learn how to develop your attention skills.  Methods to improve effectiveness in selective attention, ability to shift attention, and ability to concentrate are presented.  The exercises will be helpful to you as you develop your own skills.

Selective Attention

Selective attention can be developed by utilising a series of exercises designed to assist you in organising and recognising important cues.

Some of the ways to enhance selective attention include:

  • Establishing standard cues for particular skills and situations.
  • Working with the mind set to enhance the ability to read situational cues and anticipate actions.
  • Using simulations to create game-like situations in which you can practice selecting appropriate cues.
  • Playing attentional games.

Establishing Cues

One of the best ways to improve selective attention is to establish a fairly standard set of cues that you will use to perform based on frequently occurring coaching and playing situations.

Highly skilled coaches and players should have such a set of cues.

Coaches’ cues are:

  1. All those associated with the process of game planning:
    1. The principles of the game.
    2. The principles of attack and defence as they apply to team profile, game profile, patterns of play and game plans.
    3. Functional roles and key factors as selection criteria and for implementing the patterns of play.
    4. Team goals – outcome, performance and process.
    5. The identities of rugby, the outcomes and principles of the identities of rugby.
    6. Field position.
  2. Those associated with planning:
    1. Practice planning – concerns, aims, coaching points and practice activities.
    2. Periodised planning – the phases of periodization.
    3. Logistical planning – checklists, rom the end to the beginning.
    4. Strategic planning
  3. Strength and conditioning:
    1. Bench marks.
    2. Aerobic, anaerobic, strength, speed, power, agility and flexibility.
  4. Mental skills – the skills included in this module:
  5. Nutrition

Once you select these cues review the cues each time you rehearse this skill in practice.  In time, attending to those cues becomes second nature.  You will have improved selective attention on that particular situation.

As the game develops the technique used to perform the skill will develop to become more effective. So there are 2 steps, using the technique of current best practice to get a successful result and modifying the technique to be more effective.

Players are conservative and are difficult to persuade to do something new.

 

Exercise 8
Establishing Standard Cues

The purpose of this exercise is to get you started in identifying important attention cues in playing and coaching.  Select three key refereeing situations in your sport.  For each of these situation, create a series of cues that will help you perform optimally in each situation. Record these below.

Directions

Select six key phases of play.  For each phase of play create a series of cues that will be helpful to referees who are ruling on the development of that phase of play.

Attacking teams reacting to the defence:

“Inside out” defence pattern from set pieces.

Cues:

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“Outside in” defence pattern from phase play.

Cues:

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Four defenders in a grouped receipt group to field a kicking duel.

Cues:

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Defending teams reacting to the attack:

An attack with a wide blind-side on the right from a scrum inside the defending team’s half.

Cues:

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An attack inside the defending teams 22metre line in which the defence exceeds the number in attack.

Cues:

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An attack in which, after 5 post-tackle/rucks, there are a number of miss matches in which good ball carriers are defended by poor, slow defenders.

Cues:

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Comment

It is important not to overload yourself with too many cues or cues that are too complex.  The term used for cues is key factors.

Below are some cues used by coaches in three different sports:

  • Golf chip shot – square back, square through and hold
  • Dance step – step, together, step, hold
  • Crawl stroke – reach, pull to centre, push down side, recover elbow high.

Should you have a large number prioritise them and focus of those highest up the rank order. Keep the others on record as, as time goes by, your approach may change and you will need to revise your list.

Mind Set

Having selected cues, you have begun to create a mind set for selectively attending to those cues.  You can also work to improve your ability to anticipate actions by creating a mind set.  As an example when a #9 sets himself to receive the ball facing away from #10 you can expect him to run or a box kick. When a ball carrier is held so he cannot off load the ball while remaining standing you can expect a maul to form, the defence to hold the maul up to gain a turnover and the ball carrier to go to ground so that the defence will have to release and the ball can be re-cycled.Provide such cues for your refereeing and you’ll create an anticipatory mind set.

Using Simulations

The objective of a simulation is to create a game-like situation in practice.  You may find that simulating crowd noise, weather conditions, competition procedures, even competition dress will be helpful.  Consider borrowing from the performing arts: Run a dress rehearsal for an important competition.  In that way, you will be able to prepare ahead of time for a variety of different situations.  Additionally, the actual competition will seem more like a practice if it is not a totally new experience. Walking the field and imaging likely play based on the game profile is a useful rehearsal for the real thing.

 

Exercise 9
Using Simulation in Your Sport

The Purpose of this exercise is to enable you to identify one way to use simulation to assist you in becoming comfortable in a new situation and focusing on those cues you have practiced.  In the space provided outline how you can use simulation as a valuable activity in your refereeing situation.

Here is an example of how a swimming coach simulated the state meet in practice:

Because the state meet takes 2.5 days, coach, Karen Miller scheduled practices on Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning for the Marlin squad.  Each athlete was to come prepared with team warm-up suit, team and warm-up bathing suits, goggles and caps.  The standard 1 hour pre-meet warm-up time was open to all swimmers.  In addition, the diving well was designated as the warm-up/cool-down pool during the “meet”.  Karen ran each of the events in the order (and on the day) they were to be held in the state meet.  To make the simulation more realistic, she divided the squad into three “teams” to instil some competition.  Karen also secured the services of a starter and lane timers.  Electronic timing and scoring systems were used.  Over the 3-day period, Karen believes that she simulated these aspects of the state meet:

  • Competition that takes place for 3 days in a row.
  • Athletes being responsible for personal warm-up and cool-down activities.
  • The order and day of individual events.
  • Timing and scoring procedures.

 

Direction

In the space below, describe how you can use simulation in rugby refereeing, then list what key elements you believe you have simulated.

Simulation Activity

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Elements of sport situation simulated

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Exercise 10
Broad and Narrow

Shifting Attention

Several exercises may be helpful in developing your ability to shift attention effectively.  You will have to use each of the attentional styles and consciously move from one to another.

Shifting Dimensions

It is important that you are able to shift between the four quadrants of attention:  broad-internal, broad-external, narrow-internal, and narrow-external.  The next two exercises will help you practice the shifts and get you started designing other exercises for yourself.

The Purpose of this exercise is to illustrate one method of practicing shifting the width of attention.  Turn your television to a game or try the exercise while you attend a game.

Directions

Perform this exercise while watching a game of rugby either on television or in person.  Begin by taking in the entire scene.  Try to keep the entire area in your focus.  After a few minutes, shift your attention to a particular aspect of the picture:  a player, a spot on the playing field, or a player.  Focus only on that person or place.  Practice shifting back and forth between these two widths of attention – but do it on your command.  After you have tried the shift a few times, respond to the following questions:

  1. Which shift was more difficult for you, shifting from broad to narrow or from narrow to broad?

 

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  1. Describe an exercise that you can use to improve your ability to shift in that direction.

 

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Comment

In performing this exercise, you control whether you use a broad or narrow external focus.  Do be careful, however, that you do not simply fall into a pattern of switching your focus in exactly the same way each time.  You want to be flexible, not programmed.

You can, of course, do the same exercise with internal cues.  Begin by focusing on the way your entire body feels, and shift to how a particular body part feels.  Keep changing the body part you focus on as you proceed.

Exercise 11
Designing an attention-shifting exercises

In addition to being able to shift from broad to narrow and back, you must be able to shift to all combinations of attentional focus.

The Purpose of this exercise is for you to develop an exercise that moves through all four attentional quadrants.  In the space provided describe your exercise as completely as possible.  Then have other referees try the exercise out.  Evaluate how effective your exercise is and note any suggestions for improvement.

Directions

Describe an exercise that you can use to move through all four attentional quadrants:  broad-internal, broad-external, narrow-internal, and narrow-external.  Then try it out personally over a period of time or with a group.  Evaluate how effective your exercise is and note any suggestions you have for improving the exercise.

Description of the exercise

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Evaluation of the success of the exercise

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Suggestions for improvement

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Exercise 12
Video Games – Imagining game situations

Just as physical conditioning must be specific to the activity to be performed, attentional conditioning must be specific too.  Start by reviewing the analysis of attentional demands you created earlier. Image the skills using the attentional focus pattern you described, or sit down and watch a game DVD to try this exercise.

The Purpose of this exercise is to provide you with a sport-specific exercise to improve the ability to shift attention appropriately.  You will find it challenging and enlightening.

Directions

Play a videotape of a game.  After a moment or two put the DVD on pause and ask each referee to image what he or she should be attending to in the situation.  Then ask each referee what they selected to attend to and describe any shifts necessary.  If any modification is required, ask the referee to image the videotape sequence with the appropriate focus of attention.  In the space provided write your comments about this experience.  How could you modify the exercise to be more beneficial?

Comments

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Modifications

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