Coach Blog

About Choices

The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.

So says Hick’s Law, as well as common sense reasoning.

I realized recently that this has so much to do with the way we teach football at TOVO Academy. Let me explain.

Traditionally, coaches teach a child to kick a ball, receive a ball, shoot a ball, and dribble a ball. But we are not traditional as you probably know by now.

At TOVO, our first order of business is to promote learning and joy. We then add to that agenda our desire to teach a child to find and exploit space effectively. As a result, we are teaching players to make choices as to where and why to kick a ball.

It’s all about Options. Choices. Decisions.

These are two completely different training approaches. Traditional training leads us to passing drills and TOVO Training leads us to “choices exercises.”

Hick’s Law suggests that we minimize choices when response times are critical to decision time.

Safe to say response time is critical in football.

So, consider teaching players to find a solution to questions posed by defenders. Consider highlighting recommended options. Consider having them see the substructure of the larger match architecture. Consider having them know the answers to the test before the test. That is, in training. It’s a cheat sheet without the guilt.

We prefer to work with “cognitive progressions” to teach players to manage a few variables in the number of defenders and attackers to managing more. We purposely limit the choices to wide, deep, or internal options that we train repeatedly through rondos, position play exercises, and training games.

When a child handles the cognitive load through executing familiar solutions, she becomes the player that has answers at an impressive speed of thought.

We all want players making the best choice at the highest speed. So perhaps we should heed Hick’s Law and rethink the way we educate a child to play the game.

It’s all about choices. 

Reprinted with kind permission from Todd Beane
Founder of TOVO Training and TOVO Academy Barcelona. In TOVO Training, Beane has combined proven pedagogical practices of experts in the field of education with the visionary components of a total football legend into a dynamic and practical training methodology.
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