Experience level influences the effect of attentional focus on sprint performance - a research review
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The following video was taken by the great performance coach Rett Larson when he worked with China diving in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics. It speaks to me of the error detection system we all have, that is so important in precision sports like diving. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this is a deliberate dive.
It's not only important in precision sports. It's pivotal for all movement skills, from rolling over in bed to swinging a kettlebell. As coaches, our eye is trained for our clients to have a minimum acceptable movement skill, then program volume and intensity to develop capacity. The minimum acceptable standard is conceptualised as a performance bandwidth and has three reasons that govern what we consider acceptable. In the Prepare To Perform courses, we explore deeply a number of exercises used in rehab and training with the performance bandwidth in mind. Then we explore how we change this, removing the barriers to performance.
The Victorian course (in Mornington) is sold out this weekend. The next course is Sydney September 15th and 16th, then Albury 28th and 29th.
Here's a radical thought for current trends in Physiotherapy......
A set of commandments for clinicians:
1. Ask the clients about their goals. Not only is it useful to ask how you can help, but it's also useful to literally ask the question, "What is your goal?
This sets a trajectory for your interaction and provides their words to refer back to you when re-evaluating.
2. Evaluate thoroughly to a) find out where a client is in relation to their goals by obtaining a diagnosis of injury, pain and movement control. If another clinician evaluates your client and obtains a different diagnosis, either your evaluation is lacking, or theirs is. That's an area for improvement, at least for yourself.
3. Reset to improve function more often according to what they need, not what you want to do to them. Treatment that changes behaviour of a client matters. It's called a "reset", and is called that because it changes behaviour. Therein lies the essence of therapy - to restore. The reset, which may include passive treatment, is but one step towards physical therapy.
4. Reinforce to protect function. This is anything prescribed, such as ergonomic advice, mobility maintenance strategies, strapping or bracing to limit regression.
5. Reprogram and reload to develop function competence and capacity. The addition of exercise to improve motor control is a reprogramming strategy. It is very different from rebuilding muscle.
6. Re-evaluate according to your clients goals.
7. Smile more often than not - you're in the helping business - it's good for humanity and business for your client to be subjectively better when they leave than when they entered.
8. Have your client objectively better when they leave than when they entered your space - this ensures you honour your plan to be accountable and make the world a better place.
9. Seek out those who get clients better when you can't - your gap in capability is usually bigger than you think about.
10. Re-evaluate your own professional progress according to your own goals.
Here's two bonuses:
Be prepared to travel to broaden your horizons - chances are you will be better for it - and what client isn't better served by a better clinician?
Get involved in an improved definition of "function". It's name is taken in vain often and rarely, if ever, defined or agreed upon.
What happens when you do not get enough sleep?
There are several known psychological problems that are common when you don't get enough sleep.
Lack of adequate sleep....
Lack of adequate sleep causes physical problems too. For example:
A low energy intake worsens the effects of sleep loss by delaying the onset of sleep.
There are times when we as movement assessors are asked why we rate something as dysfunctional.
We always have a criteria. Even the vaguest criteria has been used, such as..."I'm not quite sure what I don't like about it, but there's something about it I don't like."
That "something" can be qualified. It's loss of motor control or excessive effort. The assumption is we can define what good motor control looks like. We can. Come to any SFMA course and you'll learn that quickly. Come to my own course and you'll learn that quickly.
Within the "loss of motor control or excessive effort" criteria for rating movement as dysfunctional is a concept well known in motor learning research called the "performance bandwidth" (Schmidt and Lee, 1999).
A movement that has a mistake deemed undesirable or unacceptable is one that
Look at this still of a hit, (link to the video can be seen here (Warning – the athlete lands awkwardly and suffers a knee injury) you’ll notice the angle of the trunk and shoulder— lateral flexion of the trunk away from the ball. We can hypothesize why this is the case, or I can tell you why. This athlete had a coexisting left shoulder pain, affecting shoulder elevation range of motion. If shoulder abduction and external rotation is painful, laterally flexing the trunk is the only option to get away from pain and still reach the height of the ball. Inevitably the center of mass moves so far laterally, and a double-leg landing is impossible.
From my article on bulletproofing the volleyball shoulder, “pain in the shoulder can lead to problems moving through the trunk, which can lead to pain in the low back, which can predict injury as far away as the knee (Zazulak et al, 2007a, 2007b). It’s no wonder the top three injuries in volleyball are the shoulder, back and knee.”
Whilst hitting an overhead volleyball at abduction angles is within the performance bandwidth, an athlete who uses abduction angles because of pain and a strategy to get away from full elevation is moving with a mistake, brought on by pain, mobility restrictions or motor control deficits. The keen-eyed professional recognizes this and aims to break the mistaken pattern, particularly if it increases the risk of injury. In the case of less-than-full-elevation, it isn’t a mistake for success of the hit, or efficiency, but could be an increased risk of injury.
The keen eye of the professional uses the process of training movement to look for mistakes that are outside the realm of acceptable. This should be a “performance bandwidth” based on performance parameters of population and task specificity (where they exist) or safety ranges.
The presence of pain or mobility restrictions is evaluated and addressed.
Where these don’t exist, moving with a mistake requires reactive neuromuscular training, or creating a task where the mistake can’t happen. The simplest way to envisage how RNT works is to note the mistake, then exaggerate it/feed it. That is the meat and potatoes of the Mobility, Stability and Motor Control for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sports Performance 2-Day Course.
Zazulak, B.T., et al., Deficits in neuromuscular control of the trunk predict knee injury risk: a prospective biomechanical-epidemiologic study. Am J Sports Med, 2007. 35(7): p. 1123-30.
Zazulak, B.T., et al., The effects of core proprioception on knee injury: a prospective biomechanical-epidemiological study. Am J Sports Med, 2007. 35(3): p. 368-73.
Schmidt RA, Lee TD. Motor control and learning : a behavioral emphasis. 3rd ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 1999. xvi, 495 p. p.
80% or more of your efforts to intentionally, actively move better are wasted if your body actually doesn't have the range of motion available.
Fat loss via corrective exercise.
If you're going to use exercise time doing a cyclic exercise, could you be using the same time to better use?
The main reason for many exercises to do cyclic exercise (like walking, running, rowing, cycling, swimming) is for improved fitness. Another reason is for the soothing effect it has on their state of mind (endorphin release, meditative and repetitive practice). Another reason is to burn calories. It's at this point that it's absolutely worth mentioning that the aerobic system can burn fat or glycogen - fat at the lower end of the heart rate, eg. around 120-135, and glycogen at a higher rate, eg. 135-150bpm (obviously this range is a general statement and will change according to age, state of training and many other metabolic variants). The burning of glycogen in the higher end of the aerobic range is not a preferred option. Glycogen doesn't provide as much energy as fat does. Glycogen has to be replaced through food. Rarely does anyone have too much glycogen they need to burn. Burning glycogen makes you hungry for sugars.
The burning of glycogen becomes required when exercise intensity goes up, but for the main reasons of doing aerobic exercise, burning fat predominantly is a preferred option, which means exercising at a lower heart rate for longer.
This kind of training does NOT induce post-exercise oxygen consumption to the same extent as higher intensity (the afterburn that is sought after by high intensity exercise enthusiasts). It does however stimulate your metabolism to improve it's ability to burn fat and reduce your body's cravings for sugar. Which brings me to my main point.
If you're going to spend time in a lower heart rate zone (approximately 120-135bpm), is there a better way to use your time? There is. Combining cyclic, repetitive movements with challenging movements that allow you to manage your movement mistakes on the edge of your ability. This has been called the essence of corrective exercise and implies that an evaluation has highlighted limitations and asymmetries in mobility and motor control (two of the two four modifiable risk factors for getting injured and not being able to continue exercising as planned).
We know that the core looks great when there’s proportion. Mini-waists have had their turn. Bloated mid-sections appeal to the hedonists who love their food and drink a little (or a lot) more than their exploration of the “moving arts”. The current appeal is right on the money – thick, powerful cores built for show and go. That means development of muscle and reduction of body fat. Nothing covers those two more than combinations that include cardio, or aerobic training, and workouts that include exercises driven by both arms and legs.
Here's some examples.
Best performance behaviours are high quality movements, with high force for a long time.
Improved performance doesn’t happen until behaviour changes and it is the nervous system that permits behaviour to change. The process of changing behaviour starts with getting the attention of the individual – whether they know it or not. Conscious and subconscious attention getting are the domains of coaching, or programming of training. Each (conscious and subconscious) has a place.
Getting the attention of the individual requires a nervous system with healthy receptors that respond to stimuli.
The mechanoreceptors that we aim to improve attention of exist in the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments/capsules. Enhancing the sensory environment by improving mechanoreceptor attention creates a prime environment to use the art of coaching and cueing to enhance movement skills.
A prime opportunity exists for enhancing mechanoreceptors through the treatment of pain and improvement in mobility. Here is a digitally interactive manual that provides a video library and vast explanatory library of key mobility drills.
For clinicians who've reduced or abolished pain, and for clinicians and coaches who've improved mobility, improving central nervous system processing is the next step - it starts with breaking patterns - a key element is auditory cueing.
When you talk to an athlete to provide a cue, it requires healthy hearing. The role of audition and how it is used in motor performance is a largely understudied area, with some exceptions. The goal of auditory cueing is to gain attention, to break patterns, and to improve learning retention. Since auditory information is processed faster than visual information (but visual information seems to provide more useful information than auditory), it remains a pivotal tool for breaking patterns by gaining attention of the nervous system.
Auditory cues primarily remain useful for breaking patterns by getting attention. To be continued....
In: Chapters 5 and 11, Schmidt, R. A., & Lee, T. D. (2011). Motor control and learning : a behavioral emphasis (5th ed. ed.). Champaign, Ill. ; Leeds: Human Kinetics.
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