Stephen Krashen, a second language acquisition theorist, advocates comprehensible input, which he formulizes as i+1. What he means is that students need new information / concepts that are both unfamiliar but also accessible, i.e. you can’t teach calculus right after algebra (or the subjunctive on day 1).
At coaches’ clinics, I’m always put off by those complex passing drills in which each player makes five different runs and each player criscrosses the grid five times and they dribble once and pass twice and do a somersault and then rotate clockwise. I’m exaggerating, of course, but I’ve never liked such exercises (partly, I’ll admit, because I have trouble following them; is that a problem…?); especially, as a JV coach, I always feel like I’d spent more time explaining and editing than actually doing the drill. But I’m rethinking that tonight.
My U10 team has had trouble with spacing (shocking, I know). So tonight we did two drills that we weren’t sure the team would get, both of which involved zones. The first a 2 v 2 + 1 keep away, with the one staying on the other half of the field from the 2 v 2; the second, a standard four goal scrimmage.
Both required some stopping of the game and some explaining / repositioning of the players. But in the end, not only were the players producing what we wanted to produce (passes to out of traffic, changing the field, etc.) but they were also understanding the different concepts behind the games. It seemed that we had hit upon today’s particular i+1, just enough of a jump for them to be both uncomfortable (at first) and then able to understand what we were getting at and how to do it.