Cerebellar activity is subconscious and should be left to do it’s job by keeping the coaching instruction very low in verbal density. Too much talking and instruction will create slow and uncoordinated athletes no matter how enlightening you think your information is.
-Regeneration Lab, August 31, 2003
The internal and external cueing discussions are frankly getting annoying. Sometimes internal cues are not as effective than external. Sometimes External doesn’t work. What about other options? The other day Craig Liebenson asked about what are talking about firmware since the software and hardware analogy is often used to explain the brain and the body. Should we separate it like stride length or stride frequency? That never seemed to help us as much as we thought.
I know people love getting excited about external cues but good coaching is about the athlete learning, not the coach teaching. In fact the less the coach is involved better. We can cue ribs for breathing, pack the neck during lifting, fire the glutes during core training, but let’s think before we talk. Good coaching is about learning, not instructions. Athletes must be responsible for what they are to achieve and be better students. I think the best progression in teaching with just enough guidance to acquire the skills but not too much instruction to overload. Indirect teaching by doing is better than artificial guidance, since we are designed to do it naturally.
Examples of What I learned this weekend working with another coach
Understand Kinetics and Stretch Reflexes- Don’t coach what happens because of gravity and anatomy. Just because one can see doesn’t mean we need to talk about it.
Teach Fundamentals– Rudimentary work with a wide range of skills prepare for more complicated aspects. It’s like getting a B in Algebra 1 and hoping that Algebra 2 is going to get a B+ or similar. Sometimes the right timing (waiting) or just baptism by fire exposure will do the trick.
Video and Share – Athletes can problem solve by keeping it crude. Watching video and being shown what is the issue is better than miming or gestures. Film and share what is missing from a timing or positional issue. This is not external cueing but internal works when people know the solution is very clear. Sometimes athletes do something early or late, and throw the bar to the sky is nice on paper but we are seeing great results with alternative approaches.