Drills v. Progressions…
What is a drill?
What is a progression? Are they the same?
To me, a drill is a tool that is utilized to refine or fix a previously learned skill or movement that has become faulty with respect to its mechanical execution. In contrast, a progression is a drill that is part of a system of drills to actually teach a skill.
I don’t think that a lot of coaches are able to distinguish between the two, unfortunately. I’ve worked in a lot of gyms over the years and I observe coaches who return from a clinic or coaching congress with all of these new drills and ideas. Immediately, they start implementing them. Sounds great? Unfortunately, they implement everything they learned with little rhyme or reason for what they’re doing and there’s no logical format to what they’re doing. In the end, they don’t get the results that they’re looking for and they abandon the drill altogether.
It is imperative to develop a system. While there are a lot of great drills, the coach must select a few and devise a logical teaching progression with them. Once the skill is developed and consistent then variation of drills is more important. Varying drills that work on the same aspects of a skill will help to keep the gymnast interested and challenged. Of course, some drills will always remain in the forefront because of their proven success. So, don’t be afraid to stay on drills for a while, either. You have to give the gymnast the chance to master it otherwise you’ve accomplished very little.