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Movement is necessary for accurate perception.

Mike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, how to look at your drills through prism glasses.

Perception is the first requirement for acquisition of a motor skill and conversely movement is necessary for accurate perception. Movement gives us the size, shape and depth of the skill so that we may encode it in our bodies. We are able to actually link up the perceiving of the skill with the feel of the skill when we move around.

visionThe inverted-vision experiment has been played out on college campuses since the early 70’s. Two subjects are fitted with prism glasses that flip the images that their eyes receive. One subject sits in a wheelchair and the other pushes as they begin to explore the campus. The student who pushes the wheelchair begins to adapt to the inverted objects. The student who is sitting and not allowed to use any motor facilities to explore the inverted world doesn’t adapt at all.

Without incoming motor information, that is the muscle sense ingredient, perception is not restructured to invert the distorted inverted world.

As a coach I often thought about this experiment. When I first started coaching I would set up my agility drills and give lengthy explanations of how to perform each one. Once I had the players lined up I would blow the whistle and it was often as if I had explained nothing.

I learned to set up my drills and teach very little before we began. I spoke as few word as possible, giving just enough information to get started.  Once agility began I would coach and change the motor skills as needed. I might say, drop your hips, push off your outside foot, head up, shoulders square, don’t crossover etc. After a few times through the drill, everyone began to adapt figuring out the drills nuances.

I liked to coach this way as I got in more repetitions with less talking. From the inverted-vision experiments I knew that motor information is needed for the athlete to  perceive how to do the drill correctly. The bottom line was that we were conditioning and initially, running repetitions outweighed form.

With new athletes we approached weight training the same way. 3 Way RowWe began weight training with very little explanation and coached as we went along. If a rep was bad we would just do it over… and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.


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