Different but the Same: Enhanced Expectancy for Optimal Motor Performance

General Idea: Is there an underlying commonality between all theoretical approaches?

Opinion Piece : Harjiv Singh

There seems to be a clear divide amongst different theoretical and practical approaches to motor learning and performance. The field of motor behavior itself has become extremely interesting in the past few years. Information processing theorists have transitioned from task oriented approaches to more global motor learning theories whereas those from ecological psychology perspective have transitioned from affordances being opportunities for action to affordances being opportunities during action under a set of conditions or constraints. Both perspectives would agree that perception is believed to scale the world to reflect one’s own capabilities for action. Nonetheless, enhancing motor learning and performance is still dominated and rooted by practice conditions that make problem solving or information processing more difficult and effortful. While we remain stuck linearizing a non-linear central nervous system, the concern now shifts to not “what” but “how” to bring about coordinated or skilled control of complex movement, where movement execution is of primary concern. It’s not a coincidence that motivation, movement, and motor all share the same Latin root (movere, to move). The only way we learn new skills, adapt to differing constraints, and ultimately improve performance is through this idea of expectations, where we actively anticipate rewarding properties of significance to fulfill organismic needs and desires. Think about it, our situational specific confidence allows us to take advantage of hitting high hands even after we just completely shanked the ball (volleyball example). It is common knowledge that lack of confidence disrupts fluidity, but it’s also true that circumstances which enhance expectations may also potentate even more success, improvement, and learning. In fact, confidence has been recognized as a predictor of performance. Whether you follow an information processing or ecological psychology perspective, the common language we share is this idea of forward directed anticipatory cognitions about what is to occur which not only decreases self-focus but facilitates self efficacy and goal oriented motor performance. Recent work has shed light on autonomy supportive coaching, but we’re still light years behind engaging in such an idea. While both autonomy support and enhanced expectancy fall under the category of motivation, I think it is true that enhanced expectancy incorporates this idea of autonomy support. Thus, the question here is how can we enhance expectancies in practice and during competition? 

I try to keep it nice and short and too the point. I’m always willing to discuss further and dig deeper into the philosophy and science, just shoot me an email harjiv.singh@unlv.edu

   Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 9.15.47 PM

  (Adapted from Wulf and Lewthwaite, 2016)

Pictured above is a pseudo motivational model that I will dig into through a psycholinguistic lens.  There have been numerous excellent motivational models for coaches in the past, but almost all view it through a practice condition lens. As much as we’re concerned with skill acquisition and practice conditions, words are more powerful and meaningful. Think about it, when your coach tells you something along the lines of, “I know you can do it” there is a sense of control that you assume because you’re no longer worried about pleasing your coach in the moment. Now, this may be the farthest we’ve gone in terms of enhancing expectancies. There is more to it and I hope to dig deeper into it below. For reference purposes, Psycholinguistics is the psychology of language. It is the study concerned with psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend, and produce language.

The bottom line here is that along with the typical organismic, task, and environmental constraints within the dynamical systems perspective, comprehension of language also serves as a constraint. Despite the ideology you follow, affordances are solutions of confidence and general motor programs are strategic constraints based on linguistic perceptions. 

Positive Feedback

An under appreciated function of feedback is its influence on an athlete’s motivational state. The research has clearly indicated that we want feedback on what we did good, not bad. Now, not saying if an athlete asks you for feedback on what they’re doing wrong you don’t give it. This very well maybe a way for the individual to enhance their own expectations. The feedback you do give though should be externally directed because it allows the athlete to focus primarily on the task goal. There are motivational characteristics to feedback. Reason being, an external focus primes the motor system to focus on the task goal, making it a performance criterion to accomplish that is attainable. At the same time, feedback should be instructional. When we start talking, it’s crucial to understand that our athlete will be thinking about what they did right, so a “nice job” vs. “nice job, I loved the way you flew like superman after that set” allows them to again, prime the motor system. You may be thinking that there are times where this external focus related feedback may not work especially during the cognitive stages of skill learning. After you’ve exhausted the distance effect (proximal and distal EF), it’s totally ok to go internal here, but the usage of action verbs is another way to offset the effects of the constrained action hypothesis. Research has clearly shown that the motor system is recruited during verb perception in the developing brain. The only caveat here is that your athlete needs to know what the verb actually means. So instead of telling your setter to “transfer the weight from your back foot to your front” you can easily say “push the ball towards the (target).” So clearly, theres more to positive feedback. 

Conception of ability

An athlete’s view of their own ability as reflected by a fixed capacity versus being amenable to change with practice can affect their motivation but also influence their performance and learning. Conception of ability is a directly correlated to the influence of task instructions or performance feedback. When we give feedback and say “you’re an excellent server” vs saying “those serves were very good” you’re telling your athlete that what he/she just did was good (working memory) and that what was good, were the serves. Now, the athlete can go back and monitor what happened during those serves, why where they so good? what did I feel? what did I do differently? etc. Let’s put it into context. If as a coach I tell you prior to a serve that you are a great server, there maybe a sense of nervousness which has been shown in the literature. This is also combined with a more internal focus because now if you miss, its no longer an amenable skill but a fixed capacity. 

Positive Affect

Practice should accompany positive affect. Anticipation of positive affect is a form of enhanced expectancy. But outside representative design, positive affect can be influenced by what we say. Research has documented numerous times that with positive affect, there seems to be a sense of cognitive flexibility and creativity. It’s this conviction that one is doing well and the confidence in being able to perform well in the future that drives the “wanting” of rewards. Going back to the two predominant theoretical approaches, an affordance may just be a sense of confidence. We have all these opportunities for action yet we chose what we chose. However, the instruction or feedback evidently guides this. If as a coach, my athlete accomplishes the task goal differently then I wanted, my negative feedback towards him/her negates and positive affect. And the research seems pretty convincible that for instance, an external focus allows for more goal directed behavior as measured through the UCM approach. But, even then, to create this positive affect, you need to buy into an autonomy supportive style of coaching. Avoid the “you have to” “I need you to” “do this” “be quicker” etc. Stop demanding your player and start suggesting. Simple words like “can you” “let’s try” “how about” or articles such as “the” instead of “my” can elicit less controlling behaviors and less self focus. 

Self Modeling

Self modeling is great because almost all coaches do it. There are several ways to this including editing videos of your athletes best performances which by the way are also subjective. Nonetheless, another way is to actually self model in real time. However, again, coaches fall into this rut of talking too much and giving very self focused cues. The cues you give during self modeling need to be similar to those you give when instructing/providing feedback. There needs to be direction, description, and even distance. The idea here is to increase intrinsic motivation. Most teams nowadays use a video playback system but again when analyzing, they give vastly different cues than they do during the acquisition and performance phase. Also, providing too much “feedback” via self modeling is not good. What I want to stress mostly is that the verbiage 

should be defined and similar across all tasks. 

Perceived Task Difficulty

Setting criteria that purportedly indicate good performance but can also be reached easily can also raise expectancies. You want to challenge your outside hitter to hit more line? great, what are the smaller victories in between? perhaps, a tip down the line by the ten foot line. Using a point system can also guide this effect where you don’t constrain your server to hit the gap between 5/6, but add more passers so that they have to figure it out within the provided solution space. This gives them autonomy. Lastly, providing them choices is probably the most easiest to do during practice. The word “or” goes a long way. Provide them with choices that they feel confident in, after all, its their affordance, not yours. For example, “drive the ball to the end line, or push it to the right side of the court.” When you challenge, make sure it’s attainable, in which case the environment matters. 

To conclude, expectancies affect attention and cognition. It influences working memory, long term memory, all biased towards expected stimuli. By doing so, athletes pay more attention to task error cues, increase reaction times, and increase pre-movement excitation, to name just a few. My intention here was to give you a little insight on the possibility that all of these theoretical approaches may just be underlined by this concept of enhanced expectancy and that there is more to practice conditions. It still intrigues me that words affect how we move, and words have an emotional component to them which affects confidence or expectancy. As coaches and clinicians, we need to go beyond simple motor programs. As an introduction my own research efforts, I hope to eventually take this and study the motivational characteristics of language as it related to motor learning and performance.

Five Thoughts on Sprint Technique – Ryan Banta

Part 1 of building a sprint culture by Ryan Banta, girl’s head track & field coach at Parkway Central High School. Ryan has coached multiple state champions, national qualifiers, and collegiate track & field athletes.

What are Ryan’s thoughts on sprint technique? In this video, Ryan discusses:

  • Why teaching sprint technique works
  • #BeTheHashtag
  • How often should you train sprint mechanics?
  • Individual technique
  • Injury reduction and sprint technique

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kEa6NqEYAg&feature=youtu.be

Sport-Related Concussion and Lower Extremity Injury

Sport-Related Concussion and Lower Extremity Injury

In this blog, I will be discussing the primary research I am conducting for my PhD studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  It has been a bit since I last posted, so I figured it would be best to provide an update of what I have been doing all semester, so I hope you enjoy!  (One caveat, I’m not going to reference any literature in this piece, this will be based strictly off my knowledge of the current research.  I recently submitted a literature review on this topic for peer-review with the expectation of publication in the near future.  I will certainly share this heavily referenced text once that process is complete).  Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I’d like to start with a cliff notes version of the crux of my dissertation research, which will be followed by a more in-depth analysis.

Sport-related concussions (SRCs) are now classified as a major public health crisis affecting athletes across all major sporting levels.  Injury surveillance data has recently determined that compared to their non-concussed counterparts, athletes who sustain a SRC are at greater risk for lower extremity injury well beyond the resolution of traditional SRC assessment batteries.  This may in part be attributed to subtle cognitive and neuromuscular deficits that are exposed during dynamic sporting tasks.  However, the current literature has yet to elucidate the biomechanical movement patterns of sport-specific activities (i.e. jump-landing) post-SRC.  Examination of lower extremity biomechanics after a concussive event may offer objective analysis to provide a rationale for the association between SRC and lower extremity injury risk.  Therefore, the purpose of my research is to examine jump-landing biomechanics in adolescent and collegiate athletes with and without a history of SRC.

Our knowledge of SRCs have come a long way in the past few decades.  Initially viewed as a lack of “mental toughness”, we are now starting to understand the short- and long-term ramifications of this injury.  Millions of athletes per year will sustain a SRC across all sporting levels.  While (US) football receives most of the media attention, sports such as soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse also pose significant risk for a concussive injury.  While the risk of subsequent SRCs are significantly (up to 6x) higher following a first concussive event, what many do not know is that these same athletes are at a much greater risk for a lower extremity injury (i.e., anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, ankle sprains, hamstring strains, etc.) for reasons that are largely unknown at this point.  Specially, concussed athletes across sporting levels (high school, collegiate, and professional) are at an approximately 1.5 – 4 times greater risk for the aforementioned injuries when compared to athletes who have not sustained a SRC.  But here’s where it gets really interesting: The risk of lower extremity injuries post-SRC extends well beyond the resolution of traditional SRC reporting measures – in some cases up to a year after the initial concussive event.  In order to best understand the SRC complexity, practitioners must first understand the common assessment batteries administered following such an event.  Following this, I discuss why these measures may lack the precision to adequately detect an at-risk athlete for further injury, particularly to the lower extremity.

The three most common ways to assess a SRC are as follows: symptom reporting, neurocognitive evaluation, and balance / sway measures.  However, there are issues with all three in terms of returning an athlete back to the field.  Bearing in mind that I value all of these tools as part of a multifactorial approach to SRC assessment, it is my goal to develop methods in conjunction with these tools to mitigate further injury after a SRC. Let’s discuss.

Symptom Reporting: With symptom reporting, many athletes (especially adolescents) are unaware of the most common signs following a sustained SRC.  There have been numerous studies published on the lack of SRC knowledge at the youth level and it continues to be a big problem (If interested, I can provide a few posters from the CDC HEADS UP program to share with your team!).  Another issue is that some athletes will attempt to hide their symptoms in order to stay on the field, there’s a reason why approximately 50% of all SRC are believed to go unreported.  This is typically the case in male contact sports, as the literature indicates that female athletes are much more likely to report a suspected SRC.  What we must understand is that not every SRC is obvious.  Some athletes will experience a headache that can be easily passed off as just the nature of contact sports.  Others will demonstrate obvious signs such as postural imbalances, dizziness, or loss of consciousness.  The main takeaway with symptom reporting is that education for athletes, parents, and coaches is an absolute must at the start of every season.  Even more important is re-education throughout the year, which can be as simple as impromptu quizzes at the end of a training session.

Neurocognitive Evaluation: Neurocognitive exams can be administered with a paper-and-pencil or computerized testing module.  These test batteries evaluate various neurocognitive performance indices such as verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time, and visual motor processing speed, and impulse control.  While neurocognitive testing has demonstrated superior sensitivity and specificity for determination of a sustained SRC, there a few limitations that must be considered.  First, there are issues with athletes “sandbagging” the baseline exam, especially those at the collegiate and professional levels.  These athletes are aware of the ramifications of their baseline score, a poor score at the start makes it that much easier to surpass if a SRC were to occur mid-season.  This limitation is more directed toward the paper-and-pencil exams, as the computerized modules are typically equipped with validity benchmarks.  When an athlete is subjected to neurocognitive testing post-SRC, they are often administered multiple (3-5) exams within a very short time period, potentially inducing practice effects.  Essentially what this means is that athletes may score higher on these exams just because they are more familiar with the test itself and may learn testing strategies to score higher.  When these exams are administered to non-concussed control athletes over the same time period, baseline scores are typically surpassed.  Therefore the question becomes, should concussed athletes be required to best their baseline scores in order to be cleared to play?

The last thing I want to discuss is the administration of these neurocognitive exams.  Athletes are seated in a quiet room alone to minimize any distractions – almost the exact opposite of their dynamic sporting environment.  This situation begs the question of the generalizability of the results given the conditions.  During training and competition, athletes are required to interpret task relevant (e.g., opposition and teammate position) and irrelevant (e.g., crowd noise) environmental cues while performing complex motor tasks.  Further, these tests do not account for mental or physical fatigue.  An athlete may perform to “baseline” during a computerized exam, but do they demonstrate this same performance in the 4th quarter?

Balance / Sway Measures: The two most common balance and sway measures post-SRC are the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and Sensory Organization Test (SOT).

                                      BESS                                               SOT

The BESS test is subjectively scored by the clinician as the athlete completes various stances on two surface conditions (flat and foam) with their eyes closed.  Error scores are calculated (e.g., opening eyes, lifting hand off hip) for each stance condition over the course of 20 second trials. Despite athletes typically requiring a greater recovery time, BESS data has demonstrated impaired postural control up to 3-5 days post-SRC.  However, recent review papers on the BESS has demonstrated inadequate reliability in a clinical setting (< 0.75), and this may be attributed to the subjective nature of the test (e.g., different clinicians analyzing the same athlete over an acute time frame) and the aforementioned practice effects from repeated testing.

On the other hand, the SOT produces objective balance scores utilizing dynamic posturography under six different stance conditions.  Sensory deprivations under certain conditions allow the SOT to determine visual, vestibular and / or proprioceptive impairments.  Not surprisingly, the SOT has demonstrated superior sensitivity and reliability, when compared to the BESS.  Reviews of SOT data have demonstrated balance impairments up to 10 days following a SRC.  However, researchers question the practicality of the SOT, again due to its analysis of static posture not representative of dynamic sporting movements.  Additionally, the SOT is a very expensive tool, excluding many concussed athletes from access to this type of analysis.

So you have stated the issues…what are the solutions?

To reiterate, I believe the above-mentioned assessment tools have great clinical utility and should absolutely be implemented prior to- and post-SRC.  My concern lies in the ability of these tools to translate into a dynamic sporting environment that poses a potentially  heightened risk for a lower body injury post-SRC.  However, recent gait analysis in concussed athletes has demonstrated locomotor deficits that extend beyond the resolution traditional SRC management tools.  Post-SRC, adolescent and collegiate athletes have demonstrated slower walking speeds, greater frontal plane instability, and decreased cognitive performance as the gait task becomes increasingly difficult (e.g., performing a dual motor and/or cognitive task).  Studies have also obstacle avoidance strategies during gait that suggest deficiencies in executive functioning, spatial awareness, and information processing.  It is recommended that gait analysis be included within a SRC assessment protocol, but more research is warranted to determine best practices in sport.  Perhaps it is best to have the athlete perform various walking tasks (i.e., forward, backward, and tandem) while implementing a cognitive task (i.e., reciting the months backwards or counting by threes).

oldham_2017

(Oldham, 2017)

This now brings me to my current research.  Specifically, I am examining jump-landing biomechanics in adolescent and collegiate athletes with and without a history of SRC.  My (current) first study is in the adolescent population.  Thus far, our data has shown landing mechanics that would suggest a greater risk of injury to the lower body in those who have sustained a previous SRC.  Post-SRC, athletes are demonstrating greater ground reaction forces and loading rates, increased knee valgus angles, and less sagittal knee ROM during various landing tasks.  A large sample size is necessary before making any definitive conclusions, but if these patterns hold with a larger n, it may start to provide a biomechanical explanation as to why athletes are at greater risk for a lower body injury post-SRC.  It has been suggested that subtle cognitive and neuromuscular impairments linger well after an athlete has been cleared for sporting participation.  Biomechanical analysis of dynamic, complex movement tasks may help reveal these abnormalities that are not detected by our traditional reporting measures.  The goal moving forward with these studies is to incorporate cognitive stressors during the jump-landing maneuvers to make the analysis more sport-specific.  With the tools and the assistance of my current research, it is the hope that we will be able to further advance and develop appropriate lower body movement screenings that will be quintessential to any SRC toolbox. Stay tuned!

(Adolescent landing biomechanics from my first concussion study)

Thanks for reading!

Jason

Twitter: @JasonAvedesian

Email: jason.avedesian@unlv.edu

 

#BernsteinBuzz – September 2018

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Topic: How to mitigate cognitive noise?

 

The #BernsteinBuzz, an interdisciplinary effort to studying skill acquisition, is a monthly conference call series started by Harjiv in May 2018. With participants spanning all backgrounds, we bring together those in coaching, research, biomechanics, neuroscience, rehabilitation, and psychology, just to name a few. In memory of Nikolai Bernstein, a Russian neurophysiologist and pioneer in motor control and learning, our aim is to use each other’s strengths to build each other’s weaknesses and provide our industry with a new perspective of philosophy and science. These calls are open to anyone, please reach out to Harjiv at singh.harjiv@gmail.com.

Using this platform, we will share each call’s recordings. Thanks!

#BernsteinBuzz – August 2018

220px-Cyclogram_Gastev_TSIT

 

The #BernsteinBuzz, an interdisciplinary effort to studying skill acquisition, is a monthly conference call series started by Harjiv in May 2018. With participants spanning all backgrounds, we bring together those in coaching, research, biomechanics, neuroscience, rehabilitation, and psychology, just to name a few. In memory of Nikolai Bernstein, a Russian neurophysiologist and pioneer in motor control and learning, our aim is to use each other’s strengths to build each other’s weaknesses and provide our industry with a new perspective of philosophy and science. These calls are open to anyone, please reach out to Harjiv at singh.harjiv@gmail.com.

Using this platform, we will share each call’s recordings. Thanks!

“Syntax of Action” – Part 1 – Enhanced Expectancies.

Motivation, movement, and motor share the same Latin root (movere, to move). In sport, motivation is used as a description of drive toward some goal usually in terms of level of intensity and direction of movement and also as a study of its causes and consequences.

Ryan and Deci (2000) described intrinsic motivation as, “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capacities, to explore, and to learn.” As coaches and practitioners, we have fallen accustomed to this idea of blocked and random practice because it facilitates what is learned. Meanwhile, we tend to forget that there is a success and challenge bandwidth for instructing and constructing learning and performance pertaining to how a skill learned. After all, expectancies for personal performance appear to serve a task readying function, creating a proactive rather than a reactive motor system. Movement-system readying occurs through pre movement excitation or inhibitions mechanisms which are associated to both attention and cognition. Expectancies anticipate rewarding properties of significance fulfilling a performer’s needs. They influence working memory and long term memory biasing our motor system to expected stimuli. Self efficacy or confidence, is more than just a consciously experienced perception. It is a function of control, significance, and achievement, influencing situation specific sense that he or she will be able to effect the actions that bring about task outcomes (Bandura 1977). Throughout the next couple of blog posts, I’ll be digging into the motivational and attentional affects on motor learning and performance. My goal is to shed light onto the importance of instructional cueing and feedback with the purpose of achieving movement automaticity. It’s interesting to think about performer’s who are ‘in the zone’, have the ‘hot hand’, are considered ‘clutch’, and are able to perform even as conditions continue to vary.

(Social Comparative Feedback)

A common approach in sport today is to provide individuals and teams with veridical feedback about their own performance in reference to a standard or gold standard. Competence, or having a sense of growth and the possibility of future success, is hindered if feedback is considered bad or not enough. Normative feedback is a tool used to support competence and relatedness, or showing that others are in similar situations typically given as information such as the average performance scores of other performer’s. While the research remains limited within the social comparative feedback realm, this idea of enhanced expectancies is embedded in the dopamine response literature which I will review towards the end of this series. The studies that have included such interventions have seen increased frequency and low amplitude (improved efficiency in motor control) in balance when performer’s were given normative feedback suggesting that their performance was better than average even when it wasn’t (Lewthwaite and Wulf, 2010). Learning and performance was improved through retention. Now of course, in practicality, we don’t want to lie to our athlete or patient, but we want them feel successful. I’ll touch on positive feedback in the next post, because I know thats what you’re thinking. Another study showed that normative feedback has a functional motivation affect that directly influences physiological changes at the level of stability control specifically in the soleus and peroneus, both muscles that function primarily for plantar flexion (Navaee et al., 2016). Similarly, Hutchinson et al., (2008) showed greater tolerance for sustained effort in a continuous force production task with lower perceived exertion as a function of positive normative feedback. The role of positive normative feedback is to reduce nervousness about ability during performance. In contrast, negative feedback, a sense of outside control, induce self regulatory mechanisms which in turn allow performer’s to focus more on bodily movements (internal focus) and other processes that hamper learning and performance.

This makes sense. When we are told our performance is on average similar to others within the same performance domain, we feel good as compared to it being the opposite. Moreover, it is conceivable that a success with challenge approach is a function of the resultant dopamine response which may give way to a variety of beneficial learning and memory effects often attributed to challenge or task difficulty. Think about it. Dopamine will dampen when we are challenged to do something. For example, if we have just taken the lead as a team in a basketball game but the other team comes back and takes the lead again leaving us with the last possession, this level of dopamine will only amplify to the impact of subsequent positive cues, strengthening the learning effect. This may be a terrible example, so let’s try another one. Challenge is a risk to expected reward. Let’s take a volleyball outside hitter for example. After five kills in a row, she is blocked twice, and therefore her movement, awareness, and swing power will constrain because now its about not making a mistake. Only when her coach says, “keep swinging away” will her level of dopamine increase because in her task readying space, she feels ownership and less nervousness as compared to a coach saying, “tip the ball down the line.” One of the main takeaways is that it is more likely a player will make a mistake after a mistake is made. We will continue this chat in further posts. Giving social comparative feedback to make performer’s feel as if their results are on par with those amongst them is crucial, especially for novice performer’s. At the same time, it allows performer’s not to think too much about their mistake. I hear it all the time.

“You can’t miss this serve”

“You’ve only made 3/8 from the three point line, so pass the ball”

Stuff like this.

Back to my first point. Coaches and practitioners are more keen on changing what is learned as compared to how it is learned. Conditions of practice are impactful and it really matters. What also matters is the unique interplay between how conditions of practice facilitate positive adaptation.

Untitled

While many intuitively may provide such feedback, others may be more focused on correcting errors, with unintended consequences for motivation and learning. In the hippocampus, learning increases the survival of newly generalized cells into differentiated neurons to the extent that the learning experience is new, effortful, and importantly successful (Shors, 2014). Feedback is learning, but we’re stuck looking at performance.The problem is that that we like to stop after some arbitrary criterion is reached. Concepts like overtraining and over practice start to create assumptions in our mind that take away from the importance of continuing practice. Performer’s who do not have a great deal practice beyond the stage of initial performance probably do not experience the beneficial increase is resistance to stress, fatigue, and interference that comes from extended overlearning. We are idiotically consumed by creating these habit patterns and we disallow the motor system to perform under stressful conditions where feedback and instruction are the main driver towards optimal performance.

Concepts like overtraining and over practice start to create assumptions in our mind that take away from the importance of continuing practice.

The point here is that performer’s need to develop many different cognitive sets which can be switched from one to another readily, and can include the same stimulus as members of different cognitive sets.

We are idiotically consumed by creating these habit patterns and we disallow the motor system to perform under stressful conditions where feedback and instruction are the main driver towards optimal performance.

The key takeaway from this is that there needs to be variability within the success and challenge bandwidth which is a function of practice conditions (i.e blocked and random). We talk a lot of the freeing of degrees of freedom, but tend to forget that this ‘freeing’ is a result of us as performer’s feeling good about our performance. Giving normative feedback and asking performer’s what they think about their performance is a key ingredient to the perceptual motor landscape. Social comparative feedback is one of the “syntax of action” that influence motivation and attention in motor learning, control and performance. Future research needs to study the influence of social comparative feedback within competitive team sporting events. I hope this makes you think a little bit!

Conditions of practice are impactful and it really matters. What also matters is the unique interplay between how conditions of practice facilitate positive adaptation.

 

Love and Light,

Harjiv Singh

References

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215

Hutchinson, J. C., Sherman, T., Martinovic, N.,&Tenenbaum, G. (2008).The effect of manipulated self-efficacy on perceived and sustained effort. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 20, 457–472

Lewthwaite, R.,&Wulf,G. (2010b). Social-comparative feedback affects motor skill learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 738–749.

Navaee, S. A., Farsi, A., & Abdoli, B. (2016). The effect of normative feedback on stability and efficacy of some selected muscles in a balancing task. International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology, 5(1), 43-52.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and wellbeing. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.

Shors, T. J. (2014). The adult brain makes new neurons, and effortful learning keeps them alive. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 311–318.