Tag Archive for: Motor Learning

Making training sticky and meaningful, never a grind

Start with the basics and never stray far from the basics. This is the foundation of sustained excellence.

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Craig Pickering’s top reads of 2023

2023 was exhausting! Already a dad to a toddler (who went through a stage of waking up overnight and refusing to go back to sleep), my wife and I added a second child to our brood back in October. Suffice to say, I haven’t had the time or energy to read as much this year as previous years, but I still managed to sink my teeth into some books that have had a big impact on me. Here are my best picks from this year:

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Hugh McCutcheon’s lessons on championship behaviors

Hugh McCutcheon has won medals coaching both the men’s and women’s US Olympic volleyball teams, as well dominant teams at the University of Minnesota. More recently though he’s focus on helping develop coaches and is the author of  Championship Behaviors: A Model for Competitive Excellence in Sports.

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GAINcast Episode 275: Championship behaviors (with Hugh McCutcheon)

Championship results require championship behaviors from both athletes and coaches. Having guided multiple men’s and women’s teams at the highest levels, volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon knows a thing or two about what championships behaviors are. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to share his input on finding intention, putting skill acquisition into practice, coaching, and more.

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GAINcast Episode 272: Beyond dichotomies (with Kevin Becker)

We live in the age of polarization. We get into long debates about whether things are black or white, but when it comes to topics like training and motor learning, the reality is often a shade of grey. Professor Kevin Becker is looking to create a conversation beyond dichotomies. On this week’s GAINcast he shares some ideas around motor learning and attentional focus that attempt to color in the areas in between.

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GAINcast Episode 257: Rethinking agility (with Bill Knowles)

The debate about the transfer of change of direction and agility training is a bit like the debate about general and specific training. Specificity is a critical factor, but not all general training is the same. And specific training can also be counterproductive if you don’t understand what you’re training for. On this weeks GAINcast, Bill Knowles joins us to discuss how he sees the spectrum of agility training and how a purposeful approach can improve performance all along the spectrum.

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HMMR Podcast Episode 282: Skills session planning (with Kevin Becker)

A lot of information is out there about session planning for strength training. But that is only part of the equation for athletes and coaches. A bigger question is how can we better plan skills training to enhance motor learning? On this week‘s episode Professor Kevin Becker joins us again to brainstorm how we can rethink traditional session plans to help athletes acquire and improve skills.

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Sports Science Quarterly – Q3 2022

Every quarter we take a deep dive into the latest research in sports science. In this edition we look at motor learning and performance under pressure, the impact of COVID-19 on training, deceleration, the relationship between injury history and performance, burnout, and much more.

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Are you training with a chainsaw or sandpaper?

Swedish speed skater Nils van der Poel was one of the most impressive athletes at last month’s Winter Olympics. After obliterating the field and setting records at both the 5000 and 10000m events, he released a free eBook detailing his training plan and philosophy. One important point he made was in what tools he choose. There is a role for nearly every tool in training, but you have to choose the right tool for the purpose at hand. He used the analogy of a sculptor to get his point across:

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What coaches can learn from watching kids throw

Recently James Marshall wrote about the need to develop general throwing skills before specific throwing skills. The topic of general throwing skills is worth diving more into. Thankfully this is a task that GAIN faculty member and award-winning physical education teacher Greg Thompson has to deal with every day at the primary school level. Watching his teaching progressions can help coaches of all levels in several areas. Below I show two key lessons we can take from Thompson: how advanced coaches can improve their understanding of movement by breaking it down to its basics, and how to balance constraints and cues in teaching movement.

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