Pertti Hasanen believes that the most effective way to improve a player’s game is by working with techniques based on two different sets of skills:
- Hard Skills, the ones that demand consistency. They have a path to an ideal result for each player individually (skating, stick handling, shooting, receiving, fakes…)
- Soft Skills, the ones that demand reading, recognizing and reacting. They are about being agile and instantly recognizing patterns as they unfold
To improve hard skills we work with a repeatable precision practice method.
“When you learn hard skills, be precise and measured. Go slowly. Make one simple move at a time, repeating and perfecting it before you move on. Pay attention to errors, and fix them particularly at the start. The key to deep practice is to reach. This means to stretch yourself slightly beyond your current ability, spending time in the zone of difficulty called the “sweet spot”. It means embracing the power of repetition, so the action becomes fast and automatic. It means creating a practice space that enables you to reach and repeat, stay engaged, and improve your skills over time.”
– Daniel Coyle, The Little Book of Talent
To improve soft skills we work with a decision training method.
“The decision training helps the athlete handle the pressure of competition by incorporating in practice training methods that simulate more accurately what happens in game. When decision training is used, the athlete is given the oppoturnity to develop the attention, anticipation, problem solving and other mental skills needed to perform at a high level.”
– Pertti Hasanen
Our decision training exercises act on developing all of the following cognitive skills:
1. Attention – Learning to focus and seeing only the right things
2. Anticipation – Perceiving what needs to be done earlier and responding optimally.
3. Concentration – Learning to sustain attention over time under difficult conditions.
4. Memory Retrieval – Retrieving memory solutions to solve the current problem.
5. Problem Solving – Devising the best solution from a wide array of experiences.
6. Automatic Control – Devoting a high level of attention to a few aspects while placing all else under automatic control.
7. Creativity – Developing new and effective insights into their game.
All of these skills are directly connected with player’s confidence during the game and that is why the Pertti Hasanen approach is so powerful and unique.
Coaches who use Decision Training foresee the day when the athlete is alone on the competitive stage and must think quickly and effectively on his or her own. Instead of leaving these critical mental skills to chance, they design practices that help the athlete make good decisions as surely as they help them improve their physical, technical and other skills.