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Monday, 8 March 2010

Accelerated Learning

In recent times a number of general beliefs appear to have evolved e.g. the earlier a player starts to learn the game, the better, and the younger a player achieves a successful professional standard, the better. These 2 beliefs imply a need for some form of accelerated learning.

This whole concept with regard to other areas of learning is very much open to debate, particularly when sensitive issues such as overtaxing the pre-adolescent body, psychological burnout, loss of “childhood” and education etc are taken into account. There is no shortage of evidence, particularly in the past 2 decades of child prodigies who reached “superstar’ status at very young ages only to see the wheels fall off for a whole myriad of reasons.
  • Some of the more widely documented examples are very tragic in their own right, suggesting that at least in many circumstances this whole area is a very tricky business. Of major concern is the apparent dramatic escalation in the number of cases where young children from 7 to 12 years of age are treated like miniature professionals.

  • The entourage connected with each player is often extensive and often without experience or qualification in the area.

Result: uneducated, emotive adult minds designing and structuring the learning experiences of young children – at worst there appears to be a total ignorance of the learning process, grossly unrealistic expectations, severe psychological pressure etc.
  • Not withstanding the above, my experience suggests that in almost every case it is possible to accelerate learning and development in a “healthy way.” i.e. improve the efficiency of the learning process – learn more and develop further in a shorter period of time.
Nice theory!
How can this be done?

Basically, I think it is all about young people playing a greater part in their own learning process – i.e. an ownership of the process that needs to occur for them to achieve excellence at anything. There is a need to develop a “feel” for the game, an almost intuitive or instinctive ability to see a direct connection between skill development sessions and the actual playing of the game. Let’s see a lot less mundane, routine, technical development for the sake of technical development and more of a genuine understanding of the strategy of the game.


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