The phrase “getting quality touches” is usually reserved for sports and refers to getting a player the ball so he or she has more opportunities to score or perhaps break out of a slump. It’s likely most used in basketball or possibly soccer. Ambition Athletics recently fielded a co-ed indoor soccer team. Last week while some of it’s brave and rather inexperienced members, myself not included, were at Ambition practicing some drills led by Max, I immediately thought about the Brazilian futsal story in Daniel Coyle’s book “The Talent Code”. For those of you that don’t know, according to Coyle, futsal’s original Portuguese name was “soccer in the room”, as it is played on a basketball-court-size surface at blinding speed with 5 to 6 players on each team. Although it’s obviously similar to soccer, it also resembles hockey and basketball with it’s quick passes and end to end action. The bottom line is, as Coyle points out, that players touch the ball 600% more often than in the vastness of traditional soccer. What does this mean? For those who are less experienced it means more touches and more opportunity to learn and skill build. True, when Team Ambition was practicing their skills in a close, confined area with only a handful of players it was similar to indoor soccer. More importantly they were breaking the game down into an even smaller chunk and getting far better skill practice and experience than just playing another game, i.e. getting quality touches.
So how does this apply to training? Well, if you want to get better at something in the gym you need to get in some “quality touches”. Maybe that something is new to you, maybe it’s a highly skilled/coordinated maneuver, or maybe for whatever reason, something is just eluding you right now and you’re frustrated. Either way, it’s time to practice. Get some touches, so to speak. While you’re at it, don’t forget the quality factor. Maybe just a few of X movement at a time and repeat, and then again. Or maybe just a little bit of X, but everyday. Always focused and deliberate.
Consider these two things as they relate to training: 1. If you have “leg day” (not something I recommend in the first place) once a week, that won’t be frequently enough to improve your squat or legs or whatever the reason is you are training those things you’re standing on. 2. You could just do X until you’re exhausted and red in the face but you may be better served doing X, squatting, whatever it is, to some degree every day or at least with a greater frequency than just once a week. This will ensure that the times you are “getting touches” will be at a high quality each and every time, not when you are especially fatigued.
– Mike Baltren