coaching confidence leadership performance self-improvement

Attention to Detail: What Most Don’t See is Why Only a Few are Top Performers.

From the outside looking in we focus on the outcome of the competition.

Did they win?

If we won, we did well and that validates everything we do. Right?

While that might be the case, many coaches would beg to differ.

From the insider perspective, the coaches will tell you that attention to detail is the key ingredient to outstanding performance.

Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny on Unsplash

Regardless of whether the group is very young, just learning the game, or older at an elite or pro level, attention to detail is the road map that allows the athlete to develop.

In The Physical Movement’s recent interview with Lee Taft, when referring to the skill of moving, Lee mentioned that breaking a skill into parts too soon is detrimental to the development process. That early on, the athlete needs to absorb the instruction. They key is to let the athlete absorb the skill, how it feels, and the coach must guide it and not overtake it.

Interview with Lee Taft. Movement Engineer. Coach. Teacher. Speed Guy. Exercise Scientist. Business Person. Lessons from 30 Years Teaching Human Movement.

As the athlete develops, and the understanding of the skill matures, then the attention to detail takes over. Coaches will discuss the details of team and/or individual execution of the skill. Play as a team on offence or defense. Play of the individual on offence with the ball/puck and without. Play of the individual when on defense, in defensive zone or on offence. Regardless of the sport, team or individual, attention to detail is paramount for success.

In baseball, when hitting , the release of the ball from the pitchers hand, the timing between release and decision time to start swing. That speaks to the act of hitting, but does not speak to the situation. There is the score in the game, the inning the game is in, how many outs, runners on base or not. If runner on 3rd less than 2 outs in a close game is a slightly different approach than opening an inning down by 1 or 2 late in the game. On defense, the wind, the grass, the time in the game, the type of pitcher you have, the batter in the lineup and the type of hitter, previous at bats tendencies if any etc.

Attention to detail.

Photo by Donnie Rosie on Unsplash

Mastering all the little things that go into the process of skill execution with the backdrop of thousands of repetitions = top performer.

With the backdrop of years of study and experience. At the elite level the amount of preparation is directly related to the level of play.

This article courtesy of:

The Physical Movement: Play. Lead. Be Strong.

Every single inch, every fraction of a second can make the difference between progress and decline, between developing and not.

Recently came across these 2 descriptions of athletes at the top of their craft, describing the details around their execution. What exactly they consider when planning their execution. It is remarkable really.

Before you go through these short videos, remember that as a coach, our goal, as Lee Taft says is to understand the skill. Break it down for our athletes.

Let them absorb and guide the process.

From there, we can give them opportunity to refine and practice.

To put in the repetitions and do the homework so they have a backdrop of experience from which to draw.

Lastly, this also applies to having the athletes prepare their bodies and minds for the demands of the game.

The details in that preparation will not only accelerate that development, but give our athletes the best chance possible to stay on the field, court or ice.

In my experience in youth sports, the focus on skill development is only matched by the importance of giving them the best chance possible to stay on the field.

Without the practice and playing time, the young athlete can not develop. And without having the body be able to withstand the demands of the game, they will not get the chance to practice and play.

As young athletes under 13, playing as many activities and sports as possible will provide a great way to develop a multitude of skills. At 13ish, it is time to build the body to meet the demands of the sport or sports they prefer so they stay on the field.

Attention to detail. Don’t skimp on this detail. Preparing the body for the demands of the game.

Here are some great reference points. Notice the detail in each of these:

Phil Mickelson,golf. Arguably the best iron player of all time.

Dennis Rodman, basketball hall of famer. Arguably best rebounder of all time

Originally published at

Attention to Detail: What Most Don’t See is Why Only a Few are Top Performers. was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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