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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'You try'n to hard'
how to improve coordination without
feeling uncoordinated!

When I was a teenager I would practice my basketball moves late into the evening almost everyday. One day, my dad (RIP) comes out to watch me and he says 'You try'n too hard!' I mean, I didn't know what the hell he meant. I'm 14! It wasn't until I published my first paper did I get what he meant...16 years later! 

Often when we (BSI trainers) are teaching a movement pattern to improve performance, our clients will try too hard. This causes 'excitation'  of other muscles that are not supposed be involved. This we call an over efficient movement system. When this happens  it is called  an internucial blockade. Think Patriot's Hernandez who missed that perfect pass from Brady this past Superbowl. It was a perfect example of that blockade.Think of a blockade as an inhibition that can be lowered or raised. Our goal is to lower that inhibition.  Think about when you learned anything new involving coordination. The first think we do is use the major muscles when a little less would do.  Now this is an over simplification of a remarkable yet complex system that is working at unbelievable speeds. Nevertheless, coordination can be taught to anyone when the proper training environment is set up to allow for errors and corrections.

Coordination patterns are best learned when there are parts to put together. Our training techniques are designed to be layered i.e. progressive. So if in the process of learning a technique we feel the client is flailing at getting it right, we return to the basic part of that  technique that they executed perfectly say a few sessions ago to lower the blockade.  When you continue to execute a technique poorly it will be engrammed (imprinted) on the brain as a proper one. Thus, when you  finally realize you are doing it wrong those blockades show up when someone like me has to make corrections to show you the right way. In short, we de-train a bad habit.

So if your trainer cannot teach you a technique that is 'layered' and you find that you are struggling in your attempts to' make it do what it do' and in doing so you get hurt. Tell them 'that your internucial blockades were excited, raising my reflex inhibitions.' or just say ' I can't do that!' In that moment, your trainer should be able to show another version of the technique that has fewer blockades. Then there is perpetual practice of that technique. This ensures a permanent imprint of perfect form that can be performed flawlessly.

"You don't understand anything until you learn it more than one way"
-M. Minsky

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