Better Coaching: Your technique needs to be….perfect?
“You can progress to the next movement when you can lift XXX with perfect technique”
How many times have you heard this said?
I’ve alluded to it myself previously, I have to say.
But this thought process might be flawed from a couple of angles.
Firstly, is there a perfect way to execute a movement or a skill?
Tiger Woods swings the club in a different way to Jack Nicklaus or Phil Mickelson.
Which is correct?
Chinese weightlifting emphasise different key points to westerners.
Which is correct?
Here’s the second angle: should we expect the same quality of movement from athletes from different sports?
Should our tolerance of movement issues be the same?
Let’s take gymnastics versus Rugby League.
Two sports at very different ends of the spectrum in terms of preparation.
How do the sports work? Both need high levels of force, speed and power of course.
One you win by control, balance, beauty, execution of technique which is judged on those conditions (and more)
The other you win by force, speed, collision, teamwork in a chaotic environment, a physical battle.
As coaches we need to replicate these environments to prepare our athletes in the right way.
So do we really want the movements to be performed the same way?
Do we expect the same technical execution of the movements we prescribe?
Well of course the exercise selection should be individual and specific and the environments will be very different.
For me all athletes need some chaos in the gym, we need challenges that are not going to be done perfectly. Learning occurs, and changes occur in these scenarios.
Don’t get me wrong, we no that loading an individual with poor movement mechanics is not a good idea. I’m not advocating that.
We have key things to look for in our movements to make them safe and productive. Fundamentals you might call them, with must have factors such as good back position, postural considerations.
Once it’s safe, it might wise to load it, it might need more work on the pattern. We might be able to find alternatives while we work on it, for example.
Depends on a lot of factors.
We also know that if we don’t train our rugby players/athletes and develop their athleticism they might lose the battle and we haven’t done our job. We need to challenge and load our athletes.
So a tolerance needs to exist.
So for example take the lunge exercise. The tolerance we have with say a rugby player in their technique versus a gymnast when they perform a lunge may be very different. Sure the fundamentals, the posture etc need to be there for both athletes, but within that we might allow the rugby player more slack. Their sport is about chaos. We need to get work completed to prepare them, from a time perspective we’re usually up against it, from a prevention perspective it’s negligent if we don’t.
There is a different between very good, and perfect.
One exists and is very achievable, the other doesn’t and therefore isn’t!
Stop chasing something that’s not there.
Get some training done, some very good training with very good technique.
Get the fundamentals right.
Create the chaos and embrace it.
Watch the athleticism grow.
Thanks for reading, love to know your thoughts on this.
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