Sports Skills: The 7 Sports Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport. - WG COACHING (2023)

Published by Wayne Goldsmith on

Sports Skills: The 7 Sports Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport. - WG COACHING (1)

Coaching Sports Skills is a the very heart of coaching in every sport

Every coach, every athlete, every media commentator and every fan will tell you that the fundamental element of all sports is skill.

Kicking and passing in football.
Throwing and catching in cricket and baseball.
Diving, turning and finishing in swimming.
Tackling and passing in rugby and rugby league.
Passing and shooting in basketball and netball.

Learning, practicing and mastering the basic skills of sport is one of the foundations of coaching, sports performance and athletic training.

However, just learninga sports skill is only the first step in the process. Only fools believe that “Practice Makes Perfect” if the goal is to win in competition.

Athletes do not fail because their skill level is poor: they fail because their ability to perform the skill in competition conditionsis poor and that’s a coaching issue.

There are7 Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport to be successful.

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So what is Sports Skill?

Sports Skills: The 7 Sports Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport. - WG COACHING (2)

There’s always a “definition” nut out there: someone who has to read a definition of something before they will engage with it.

So to keep all you definition devotees happy, “skill” for the purpose of this article, is defined as:

“The ability to perform a sporting skill consistently wellat speed, under fatigue and pressure conditions in acompetition environment“.

People drone on and on and on about skills in sport. “It’s all about the fundamentals” some say. Others insist, “Skills are everything”.

Hard to disagree but……there is a huge difference between learning a skill and learning to perform the skill consistently well at speed, when you are fatigued, under pressure and trying to execute the skill in front of thousands of people.

Sports Skills: The 7 Sports Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport. - WG COACHING (3)Wayne Goldsmith releases weekly videos on leadership, sports and coaching on his YouTube channel. Subscribe to WGCoaching on YouTube

The Technically Perfect Sports Skills Myth.

One of the greatest myths in sport is the “Technically Perfect Skill” myth. You know the myth you learnt from a biomechanics professor or you heard from a coach at a course or you read about in a textbook that said something like “you must coach the athlete until they have mastered every element of technique X perfectly”.

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Whilst you should pursue excellence in technique and strive to continuously improve an athletes skills, it is ridiculous to try to coach every athlete you coach to achieve the myth of technical perfection.

“Textbook” perfect is just that – perfect for still images in textbooks. When your athletes can win medals and win football games by looking good on page 147 of a text-book then by all means try to make them look textbook perfect.

But if you want them to win in the real word – coaching sports skills is so much more than looking perfect. Your athletes need to be able to execute sports skills in performance situations – and that means a re-think of the way you coach skills.

Performance Practice: Train the Way You Want to Perform.

Want to learn and master a basic sports skill? Find a coach, learn how to do it then practice, practice, practice.

Want to learn and master a basic sports skill so that you can enhance your performance under competitions conditions….then practice, practice, practice will not cut it: you need Performance Practice.

Performance Practice is a logical, systematic 7 Step process that takes athletes from the execution of thebasic skill to being able to perform itunder competition conditions.

Sports Skills: The 7 Sports Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport. - WG COACHING (4)

The 7 Skills Steps of Performance Practice:

Sports Skills Step 1:

Perform the Skill. This is the first, and unfortunately for most athletes, the last step in their skills learning program. Coaches come up with a drill, athletes copy it, try it, learn it.

Sports Skills Step 2:

Perform the Skillvery well. Skills mastery comes from regular practice combined with quality feedback from coaches and may incorporate the use of video and other performance analysis technologies – including the best one of all…the coach’s eye!

It is about here that most coaches stop coaching the skill, believing that if the athlete can perform the skill really well, and it looks like it does in the coaching textbooks then they have done their job.

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The job is not even 30% complete.

Sports Skills Step 3:

Perform the Skill very well andat speed. Name one sport where the ability to perform sports skills really slow is a winning strategy! Technical perfection at slow speed may look great for the text books, but unless the skill can withstand competition level speed (and included in that is competition accelerations, competition agility requirements and competition explosiveness) then it is not competition ready.

Looking technicallyperfect at slow speed is great for the cameras but it is even better for your opposition who will have run around you and scored while you are receiving accolades for winning the “best-skills execution” competition.

Sports Skills Step 4:

Perform the Skill very well, at speedand under fatigue. Think of the “danger zones” in all competition sport. The last 20 metres of a 100 metres freestyle. The last 5 minutes before half time in football. The last play in the game. Many, many competitions come down to the quality of skills execution duringthe last 5% of time and being able to perform fundamental skills when tired, dehydrated, glycogen depleted and suffering from neuro-muscular fatigue is a winning edge in all sports.

Sports Skills Step 5:

Perform the Skill very well, at speed, under fatigue and under pressure. How many times do you see athletes miss simple targets or drop balls or make errors at critical moments – “danger-zones”in competitions?There is no doubt that emotional stress and mental pressure impact on the ability of athletes to perform skills with quality and accuracy – (read more about the emerging field of “psycho-physiology!!”). But….this is a coaching issue. Incorporate the element of pressure in skills practices in training and ensure that training is more challenging and more demanding than the competition environment you are preparing for.

Sports Skills Step 6:

Perform the Skill very well, at speed, under fatigue and under pressure consistently. Being able to perform the skill under competition conditions once could be luck, but being able to do it consistently under competition conditions is the sign of a real champion. Consistency in skills execution in competitioncomes from consistency of training standards. Adopting a “no-compromise” approach to the quality of skills execution at training is a sure way to develop a consistent quality of skills execution in competition conditions. Unfortunately many athletes have two brains:

  • Training brain– the “brain” they use in training and preparation. This “brain” accepts laziness, inaccuracy, sloppiness and poor skills execution believing that “it will be OK on the day” and everything will somehow magically be right at the competition;
  • Competition brain – the “brain” they use in competition.

The secret to competition success is to use “competition brain” in every training session.

Sports Skills Step 7:

Perform the Skill very well, at speed, under fatigue and under pressure consistently in competition conditions. This is what it is all about. The real factor in what makes a champion athlete is their capacity to perform consistently in competition conditions.

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Performing a basic skill well is not difficult. But add the fatigue of 75 minutes of competition, the pressure of knowing the whole season is on the line with one kick, the expectations of the Board, the coach, the management, team-mates and tens of thousands of fans and all of sudden that basic skill is not so basic: it becomes the equivalent of juggling six sticks of dynamite.

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Practice does not make Perfect:

In the old days, people would say, “Practice Makes Perfect”. We now know that is rubbish.

Some people moved on and said, “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”.That philosophy is only true if the goal is to perform skills well for the textbooks.

The real issue now is “Performance Practice Makes for Perfect Performance”.

Practice consistently under the conditions to be experienced in competition and success will follow.

Sports Skills: The 7 Sports Skills Steps You Must Master in Every Sport. - WG COACHING (6)

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The Performance Practice Model – Copyright Wayne Goldsmith 2014.


  1. Just learning and masteringsports skills is not enough: it is no longer “Practice Makes Perfect” or “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”;
  2. Coaches and athletes must spend as much time, energy and effort learning to perform the fundamentalskills of their sportin competition conditions as they do to learning and masteringthe basic skill;
  3. Coaches should progress athletes systematically through the 7 skills steps to ensure they can perform fundamental sports skillsin competition conditions: to do less is to rely on luck, the bounce of the ball and some good fortune – none of which are strategies for consistent success.

Wayne Goldsmith


What are the 7 fundamental sport skills? ›

What are the seven fundamental movement skills?
  • Running.
  • Jumping.
  • Coordination.
  • Throwing.
  • Catching.
  • Kicking.
  • Striking.

What skills are required for a sports coach? ›

Skills and experience you will need

good spoken communication skills. the ability to inspire confidence and motivate performance. the ability to analyse problems. perseverance and patience.

What are the 5 basic skills in sports? ›

Fundamental movement skills are basic movements such as throwing, kicking,running, jumping, hopping and catching. Fundamental sport skills are these movement skills applied to a sport situation: for example, kicking a soccer ball, running a sprint, jumping up for a basketball rebound, catching a baseball.

What are the 7 fundamentals of soccer? ›

And it is essential to know that beginners should learn the fundamentals of soccer before trying fancy tricks or moves that the pros do.
Basic Soccer Skills
  • Passing. ...
  • Dribbling. ...
  • Trapping / Receiving the Ball. ...
  • Shooting The Ball. ...
  • Movement Off The Ball ** (Bonus Skill)

What are the 6 skills that help a person perform well in sports? ›

There are six skill-related fitness components: agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and reaction time. Skilled athletes typically excel in all six areas.

What are 5 roles of a coach? ›

monitoring and enhancing performance by providing tuition, encouragement and constructive feedback. identifying strengths and weaknesses. advising about health and lifestyle issues. developing training programmes.

What are the 10 roles of a coach? ›

Consequently, the role of the coach will be many and varied, from instructor, assessor, friend, mentor, facilitator, chauffeur, demonstrator, adviser, supporter, fact finder, motivator, counselor, organizer, planner and the Fountain of all Knowledge.

What are the 4 key principles of sports coaching? ›

evaluate an athlete's competition performance. evaluate athlete/training and athlete/coach performance. provide clear and effective instructions, explanations and demonstrations. conduct effective observation and analysis.

What are the 8 essential skills? ›

The eight essential skills are listening, speaking, problem-solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership, and teamwork. The skills cover communication, creative problem solving, self-management, and interpersonal skills.

What are the 6 major skills? ›

Key Takeaways

Six of the most important skills, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) are problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, a strong work ethic, analytical and quantitative skills, communication skills, and leadership qualities.

What are the 6 physical skills? ›

There are six skill-related fitness components: agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and reaction time. Skilled athletes typically excel in all six areas. Agility is the ability to change and control the direction and position of the body while maintaining a constant, rapid motion.

How many sports skills are there? ›

What are the 10 fundamental skills? Balancing, running, jumping, catching, hopping, throwing, galloping, skipping, leaping, and kicking are the ten fundamental motor skills.

What are simple skills in sports? ›

Simple skills are skills where the performer doesn't have to process much information or make many decisions. The skill has only a small number of parts (or sub-routines) and doesn't require much feedback during its performance. An example of a simple skill is sprinting.

What are 3 sports skills? ›

Kicking and passing in football. Throwing and catching in cricket and baseball. Diving, turning and finishing in swimming. Tackling and passing in rugby and rugby league.

What are the 7 main skills in football? ›

  • Passing and receiving.
  • Shooting.
  • Decision making.
  • Dribbling.
  • Heading.
  • Touch and ball control.
  • Skills and tricks.
  • Running off the ball.
Jan 19, 2022

What is the 7 law of football? ›

Law 7: The Duration of the Match

The gameplay time in a typical football match is 90 minutes long, which is divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. Between the two halves, there is a 15-minute halftime break. Full-time marks the conclusion of the game.

What is Law 7 in soccer? ›

Law 7 provides for a halftime interval between the two halves. This is a mandatory rest and water break for the players. The halftime break for a full match may be no longer than 15 minutes. Local rules may permit shorter halftime periods.

What are the 7 Powerful Ways to improve athletic performance? ›

7 Powerful Ways To Improve Athletic Performance
  • Vary Your Workouts. ...
  • Track & Measure Your Performance During Training. ...
  • Make Proper Hydration a Priority. ...
  • Dedicate Enough Time for Recovery. ...
  • Train Your Brain. ...
  • Fuel Your Body the Right Way. ...
  • Consider Adding Some Supplements to Your Diet.
Oct 30, 2019

Why are basic skills important in sports? ›

Skills are obviously at the heart core of sport. Without acquiring and displaying the relevant sport-specific skills one cannot take part in sport contests. Since skills are by definition centrally important in sports, one could have imagined a rich sport philosophic literature on sporting skills.

What sport takes the most skill? ›

Tenpin Bowling and swimming were considered the sports requiring the most skill. The ratings are still being recorded (this list is from December 2019), so the list order may change over time.
Top Ranked Skill Sports.
1Tenpin Bowling87.4
2Swimming (200m Free)86.9
4Water Polo85.8
6 more rows

What are the 8 roles of a coach? ›

The 8 roles of a coach are: The teacher, the facilitator, the guide, the investigator, the contractor, the partner, the reflector and the master.

What are the 6 tasks of a coach? ›

The course will also ask each coach to reflect on their experiences to develop action steps for personal growth in the Six Tasks (Coaching Games, Coaching Training Sessions, Leading the Team, Leading the Player, Managing the Performance Environment, and Leadership).

What are 3 responsibilities of a coach? ›

The coach's role is to facilitate learning, offer advice, and analyze the individual to identify weaknesses and strengths.

What is the most important thing as a coach? ›

The most important attribute of any coach is that they want to help the person or people they are coaching to learn. A good coach doesn't see themselves as an expert able to fix all problems and having all the answers. Instead, they see themselves as supporting the process of learning.

What makes a coach a leader? ›

An effective manager-as-coach asks questions instead of providing answers, supports employees instead of judging them, and facilitates their development instead of dictating what has to be done.

What are the 7 steps of coaching? ›

Coaching is a different approach to developing employees' potential.
7 Steps to Coaching Your Employees to Success
  • Step 1: Build a Relationship of Mutual Trust. ...
  • Step 2: Open the Meeting. ...
  • Step 3: Get Agreement. ...
  • Step 4: Explore Alternatives. ...
  • Step 5: Get a Commitment to Act. ...
  • Step 6: Handle Excuses. ...
  • Step 7: Provide Feedback.
Nov 1, 2011

What are the 5 C's of coaching? ›

The 5Cs are represented by the attributes and skills of commitment, communication, concentration, control and confidence - with the goal of helping organisations create 'psychologically-informed environments' that nurture the 5Cs in young athletes.

Why are the 9 essential skills important? ›

Nine essential skills are needed for the workplace. These skills are used in every job to varying degrees and at different levels of complexity. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

What are the 5 skill levels? ›

The scale ranges from proficiency levels 1-5:
  • NA - Not Applicable.
  • 1 - Fundamental Awareness (basic knowledge)
  • 2 - Novice (limited experience)
  • 3 - Intermediate (practical application)
  • 4 - Advanced (applied theory)
  • 5 - Expert (recognized authority)

What are the 4 core skills? ›

These skills are Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. In the context of first-language acquisition, the four skills are most often acquired in the order of listening first, then speaking, then possibly reading and writing. For this reason, these capabilities are often called LSRW skills.

What are the 10 core of life skill? ›

NICEF, UNESCO and WHO list the ten core life skill strategies and techniques as: problem solving, critical thinking, effective communication skills, decision-making, creative thinking, interpersonal relationship skills, self- awareness building skills, empathy, and coping with stress and emotions.

What are the 8 components of physical fitness? ›

The components of health-related fitness includes: body composition, muscular endurance, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.
  • Body Composition.
  • Muscular Fitness.
  • Cardiorespiratory Endurance.
  • Flexibility.
  • Balance.
  • Coordination.
  • Power.
  • Agility.

What are the 10 physical skills of fitness? ›

They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these 10 skills, and a regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these 10 skills.

What are 6 gross motor skills? ›

What it means when we talk about gross motor skills
  • sitting.
  • standing.
  • walking.
  • running.
  • jumping.
  • lifting (a spoon, a hairbrush, a barbell — they all count)
  • kicking.
Jul 28, 2020

What are the 6 major sports? ›

This article is a list of teams that play in one of the six major sports leagues in the United States and Canada: the Canadian Football League (CFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) ...

What are the 4 major sports? ›

MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL are commonly referred to as the "Big Four." Each of these is the wealthiest professional club competition in its sport worldwide, and along with the English Premier League they make up the top five sports leagues by revenue in the world.

What are the basic skills? ›

Basic skills are very important. Everyone needs them. These are skills like reading, writing, number skills and computer skills that we use every day. You may hear them called Skills for Life.

How can I learn sports skills? ›

5 Steps to Mastering Any New Skill in Sport
  1. Step One: Start where you are, not where you think you should be.
  2. Step Two: Develop a growth mindset and ditch your limits.
  3. Step Three: Practice. Practice. Practice. Patience. ...
  4. Step Four: Get to know your learning process.
  5. Step Five: Seek expert advice and be open to it.

What are the big 3 sports? ›

  • Association football.
  • Basketball.
  • Other sports.

What are the three basic skills? ›

Research has found there are three basic categories of skills in the world: knowledges, transferable skills and self-management skills.

What are the basic fundamentals of sports? ›

What are the 10 fundamental skills? Balancing, running, jumping, catching, hopping, throwing, galloping, skipping, leaping, and kicking are the ten fundamental motor skills.

What are the 12 fundamental skills? ›

The twelve fundamental movement skills are; static balance, sprint run, vertical jump, catch, hop, side gallop, skip, overarm throw, leap, kick, two handed strike and dodge.

What are fundamental skills in PE? ›

Fundamental movement skills categories include: Balance skills - Movements where the body remains in place, but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes. Locomotor skills - such as running, jumping, hopping, and galloping. Ball skills - such as catching, throwing, kicking, underarm roll and striking.

What are the six 6 fundamental skills of basketball? ›

6 Basketball Skills Your Child Will Develop at a Sports Clinic
  • Dribbling. Dribbling the ball is one of the fundamentals of playing basketball. ...
  • Passing. Basketball skills also include the essential team sports move: passing. ...
  • Shooting. ...
  • Agility. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Self-Discipline. ...
  • A Great Learning Opportunity.
Jan 5, 2018

What are simple skills in sport? ›

Simple skills are skills where the performer doesn't have to process much information or make many decisions. The skill has only a small number of parts (or sub-routines) and doesn't require much feedback during its performance. An example of a simple skill is sprinting.

What are the 8 core skills? ›

Communication, Identifying and Understanding Feelings, Balancing Emotions, Problem Solving, Coping and Resilience, Conflict Management and Resolution, Self-Perceived Competence, and Diversity Awareness & Respect.

What are the 8 skills? ›

8 job skills you should have
  • Communication.
  • Teamwork.
  • Problem solving.
  • Initiative and enterprise.
  • Planning and organising.
  • Self-management.
  • Learning.
  • Technology.
Jan 9, 2023

What are the 11 fundamental movement skills? ›

The fundamental movement skills to be developed through Health and Physical Education include: locomotor and non-locomotor skills – rolling, balancing, sliding, jogging, running, leaping, jumping, hopping, dodging, galloping, skipping, floating and moving the body through water to safety.

What are the 3 types of movements? ›

Three types of basic body movements are locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative movements.

What are the 5 most important skills in basketball? ›

Shooting, dribbling, defending, rebounding, and passing are among the most significant abilities in the game of basketball.

What are 4 major skills you need to learn before playing basketball? ›

The fundamentals of basketball include skills such as footwork, dribbling, shooting, and passing, which basketball players need to learn to play the game of basketball.


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