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Skill Perfection

Coaching athletic skill is more complex than we imagine. The immeasurable number of motions and countless ways we can apply force from the activity of over 600 skeletal muscles is hard to direct through verbal communication, visual aids and sport specific drills.

The information is processed by the athlete. The motor centers of their brain and spinal cord generate neural commands that are to reflect the information that was presented. The nervous system that relays these thoughts and actions consists of a cellular network of upwards to 10 billion neurons and 60 trillion synapses that communicate with one another. These neurons and their processes are also effected by their excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs they receive.  Mood, sleep, presentation, thought, sight, environment, etc. etc. etc. all have something to do with neurological flow and ultimately the athletes coached results,

Each cell has intrinsic electrical properties that effect pertinent transmission.. Once our brain has finally organized our system through interneuronal communication communications to the muscular system, we are potentially capable of a discharge of a particular behavior or skill that is required to excel in an activity.   Countless practice hours are required to acquire a specific function and countless hours are needed to maintain it, yet these gained neural patterns are never permanent.

Neural patterns never being permanent is why we need a coach to excel, why we need to continually practice, why it is hard to coach, why coaching itself is a skill, why some coaches are better than others and a coaches mood, presentation, sleep etc. etc. etc., effects both the coach and athletes abilities – and it is appropriate to add they affect one another simultaneously.

Getting strong is probably the simplest thing an athlete does in their acquisition of skills.  Strength training causes adaptive changes within the nervous system that allows one to more fully activate prime movers and to better coordinate the activation of all relevant muscles required for a specific movement.  Though forces are not always applied as concise as needed – at least the athlete has the underlying ability to produce a greater net force in the intended direction of movement when stronger, that is, if the rest of the 10 billion neurons and 60 trillion synapses get it right.

Coach Vince Lombardi said, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” – of course this means every day.

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