Training Axeman’s training reports and discussion thread

Carl Spackler

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At the risk of boring the board, I'll post a two-minute hype video about decision making in professional sports. It refers the to the OODA loop, a concept created during the Korean War to improve fighter pilot tactics and decision making (war being the crucible for many high performance discoveries - it being nice to stay alive and all) and which has spread to pro sport, particularly in the US. I've never heard anyone at Hawthorn refer to OODA, but seeing as all the time that Hawthorn staff spend with other sports' elite staff, along with the increasing complexity of Hawthorn's team strategy, I wouldn't be surprised to find that something like this is key to selection in the 22. Physical gifts are table stakes. Mental acuity is what gets you to the top.

 

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rogiebear93

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At the risk of boring the board, I'll post a two-minute hype video about decision making in professional sports. It refers the to the OODA loop, a concept created during the Korean War to improve fighter pilot tactics and decision making (war being the crucible for many high performance discoveries - it being nice to stay alive and all) and which has spread to pro sport, particularly in the US. I've never heard anyone at Hawthorn refer to OODA, but seeing as all the time that Hawthorn staff spend with other sports' elite staff, along with the increasing complexity of Hawthorn's team strategy, I wouldn't be surprised to find that something like this is key to selection in the 22. Physical gifts are table stakes. Mental acuity is what gets you to the top.

Sam Mitchell makes passing comment to something like this in his book (not by name), seems like it's something that most professional sports people have regardless of whether they're trained to do it or not.

Mitchell talks about how he read Vic Metro's team rules book, committing it to memory and applying it to his rules so that when any situation arises he instinctively knows what to do and can make those decisions faster than anyone else. I'd say considering Clarko's use of countdown timer exercises (I believe he got the idea from attending Spurs training under Popovich?) and his emphasis on the fundamentals, it's something that he focuses pretty heavily on.

I'd say it's a key reason why we focus on 'Football IQ' in our players as opposed to athleticism; it doesn't matter if you're half a second faster than someone over 100m if you take a second longer to make the decision when you get there.
 

Carl Spackler

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Sam Mitchell makes passing comment to something like this in his book (not by name), seems like it's something that most professional sports people have regardless of whether they're trained to do it or not.
I haven't read Sammy's book, but since you prompt me and I can't resist I will risk further boredom.

What this guy who "invented" OODA realised is that everyone does it. It's how we interact with the world. An innate part of existence. His insight was that we could train people to do it better. Do it faster. Cue on better information sooner. The objective being to make the loop as tight as possible so that you're cycling through decisions faster than your opponent. And when you get inside an opponents OODA loop then they are forced to either restart or make an outdated decision. Either way, you win.

So, gridiron being a strategy heavy game and them so into OODA, I reckoned Hawthorn may be considering similar. If the players could make situational play decisions (like on a basketball team silently deciding together on post or kick-out based on matchups and court position, or quarterbacks and wide-receivers changing routes simultaneously based on matchups and defensive shifts, like-wise defenders doing the same) then Hawthorn would be extremely elite, not just in footy but in sport period.

Anyways, it interests me.
 

rogiebear93

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I haven't read Sammy's book, but since you prompt me and I can't resist I will risk further boredom.

What this guy who "invented" OODA realised is that everyone does it. It's how we interact with the world. An innate part of existence. His insight was that we could train people to do it better. Do it faster. Cue on better information sooner. The objective being to make the loop as tight as possible so that you're cycling through decisions faster than your opponent. And when you get inside an opponents OODA loop then they are forced to either restart or make an outdated decision. Either way, you win.

So, gridiron being a strategy heavy game and them so into OODA, I reckoned Hawthorn may be considering similar. If the players could make situational play decisions (like on a basketball team silently deciding together on post or kick-out based on matchups and court position, or quarterbacks and wide-receivers changing routes simultaneously based on matchups and defensive shifts, like-wise defenders doing the same) then Hawthorn would be extremely elite, not just in footy but in sport period.

Anyways, it interests me.
I believe that we do, or did - best example is 2016. So many close matches where we put ourselves in winning positions simply based on the fact that everyone knew what to do from kick-ins or stoppages, and did it faster than anyone could respond to it. We did it the exact way the cycle was intended to be used, we made up for being older and slower by being completely queued in mentally to what needed to happen. Difference between our team, and teams in the NBA or NFL that do similar, is that we don't get a minute to come together as a team to lay it out. We don't get to take off our defensive team and put on an offensive team who have spent the entire game knowing what they need to do.

AFL, in my opinion, is much more difficult tactically than Grid Iron or Basketball. We have more players making more decisions over a bigger playing area, without the benefit of a sideline coach or time-outs. There are no team changes from offense to defense. It's a three dimensional team sport like the NBA, but with almost 4 times the players on the field and over 4 times the area. There are more considerations, way more variables. I'm not sure why anyone would want to coach an AFL side to be honest.
 

Larry Barnsworth

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...
Anyways, it interests me.
Related - Tony Dungy when he was coaching NFL (Tampa and Colts) focused heavily on this. Charles Duhigg has a good write up on him in his book "The Power of Habit". He doesn't use the OODA acronym in his book, but the narrative matches what you've been discussing.
 
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The modern professional game is far more mental than physical at the edge of elite performance. Confidence in a player's physical gifts is a first or second year problem only. After getting some meat on the bones and some size, the difference between top tier performance and the seconds is decision making, pure and simple. This is evidenced by some players who are built like a Greek god but are always half a step off the play despite their physical gift, contrasted against players like Lake who carried a little extra and was never ripped but had phenomenal decision making skills on the field (shame about his off field decision making).

So Brand, or any other player for that matter, will live or die by his ability to be in the right place at the right time (see Spangher who played every game like it was his last but was a middling player in physical gifts). It's a mental thing at the top level. Can you decide and act faster than the other guy? It's that simple.
I get what you are driving at and agree to a certain extent but if you have confidence in your ability you will generally decide and act faster.
As an example Brian Lake had so much confidence in his marking ability he would make a split second decision to go for the contested mark rather than cover his opponent / go for the spoil.
Alex Rance is another example of a player who has enough confidence in his ability he will peel off his opponent at the first opportunity to kill the incoming ball.
I feel that if Brand gets this confidence in his ability to go for the contested marks, etc he can be a more than serviceable key back for us.
Reading the pre season training reports on the Hawks website it appears a big focus for Brand has been increasing his core strength which will help his confidence.
But either way we shall see what eventuates for the big fella this year come what may!
 

Luv_our_club

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Most of the best defenders play the ball and read it in flight. Brand often gives up on the ball, and just looks directly at his opponent - i don't know how that strategy can work for you. The other worrying habit last year was Brand giving up needless free kicks when exposed one-on-one... it was almost as if he wanted the contest to be in the umpires hands and not his. But his form in the VFL was very good, perhaps it is all about confidence and belief for him.
 

Dr.J

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I'm often surprised at the definitive assessment made of players yet to play 50 games.
I recall speaking to Sam Mitchell one day and he indicated he had no idea what was going on for the first 50 games.
Whilst his statement may have been a triffle flippant there's no doubt that a players decision making skills improve with games played.

Perhaps, in Brand's case, he may still have room for improvement in this area
Perhaps he know knows the strengths and weakness' in his game.
Perhaps he's learned how best to use his physical attributes

Or perhaps he's as good as he was last season and he's never going to get any better.

Glass half full v Glass half empty
 

Mrzohs

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It's extremely harsh to judge a key position player under 50 games!
K. Brand has all the attributes to be a genuine chb.
But he has to get rid of that flaw in his game which has been alerted to previous,
never take your eye off the ball! especially in flight its to easy for the forward to push off and take the mark.
 

OnTheRocks

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It's extremely harsh to judge a key position player under 50 games!
K. Brand has all the attributes to be a genuine chb.
But he has to get rid of that flaw in his game which has been alerted to previous,
never take your eye off the ball! especially in flight its to easy for the forward to push off and take the mark.
The great defenders have the ability to read the flight of the ball then look at their opponent (watching the ball) and then push them into obscurity before refocusing on the ball to take a mark or spoil the ball. Lake was exceptional at this technique and I am not really confident atm that Brand has the capability to ever perform it.
 

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Was a 3v1 against Hale. S Mitchell highlights it in his book. We lose that contest, and it's a Cats goal. Was a critical moment.
Because of his size he was able to nullify the other cats in the contest at the time. Punted blicavs away than basically shielded the ball so they couldn't get it. Huge moment.
 

Mrzohs

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Ffs wingard no show for round 1, its a year we can't afford to many injurys while we continue to rebuild the list.
I'm not looking forward to round 1!
Someone give me some faith!
A rather nervous fan atm!
 

Hawks1994

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At the risk of boring the board, I'll post a two-minute hype video about decision making in professional sports. It refers the to the OODA loop, a concept created during the Korean War to improve fighter pilot tactics and decision making (war being the crucible for many high performance discoveries - it being nice to stay alive and all) and which has spread to pro sport, particularly in the US. I've never heard anyone at Hawthorn refer to OODA, but seeing as all the time that Hawthorn staff spend with other sports' elite staff, along with the increasing complexity of Hawthorn's team strategy, I wouldn't be surprised to find that something like this is key to selection in the 22. Physical gifts are table stakes. Mental acuity is what gets you to the top.

Definitely not boring over here, I love anything related to sports psychology, and as a tennis coach, I do my best to introduve the kids to this sort of thing as early as possible. Obviously not as intense but simple little decison making tasks trains the brain to see things faster, not only on court but off court too. It's just such a vital aspect of playing any sport and largely gets ignored in favour of technical training

Really top notch post
 

lickmerocks

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Is Will Langford still training at all? Does he even come down to use the gym etc.? Is he likely to attend HFC games & still run around at BHH?

Will had a year to run. Club and player struck a deal for him to “retire” however he gets paid out and remains on our list very much the similar situation to Ty Vickery.

We will not see Will in a Hawks or Box Hill guernsey again.
 
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