M+, M-, M+

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As I finished the book Talent Code before my trip to the Olympic Training Center I came across an interesting concept about John Wooden’s communication style during his practice sessions. The author of Talent Code mentioned during Coach Wooden’s practices he used a communication style they titled M+, M-, M+. In simple terms it requires the coach to give constant instruction in machine gun burst like action. What Wooden did not do in practice was give long win one for the “Gipper” speeches. Instead Coach gave quick examples of drills/activities with correct execution (M+) then incorrect execution (M-) and then correct execution again (M+). Watching the video on this site with Lolo Jones I couldn’t help thinking sharing all that data with Lolo might not be the best choice. I always worry about paralysis by analysis with athletes who are smart and think too much. My worry becomes deeper as we tinker with World Class athlete’s technique in Olympic year based on the data from a lab. The old “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” kept ringing in my head. However, I believe the data acquired from the Red Bull testing with Lolo will help her more as she has made the US team again. After reading that info in the talent code I have begun to be more aware of using the M+, M-, M+ method while teaching at summer track and field practice. Now we all know track and field is a very different sport then basketball but working on acceleration, bio-mechanics drills, and other shorter more neural activities I have found Wooden’s method works. Moral of the story is to keep info in practice quick and concise at the same time using data like red bull or other experimental info during film sessions off the track. Using those two methods at the right time is an awesome way to teach!

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