“The body shows very little interest in what the coach has to say.”

We do our best at HHGC to embrace the implicit learning modality. Why??? According to Dutch Motor Learning Specialist, Frans Bosch, here’s two good motivations:

1) “The body shows very little interest in what the coach has to say.”

2) “Over 300 studies have shown that the best performers in any sport are able to accomplish the goals of their movement at a very high-level, but they cannot tell you how they do it.”

Given the growing evidence implicit learning (like that above)—and the resultant need to design practices with an ecological approach—we try to avoid standing over athletes or explicating what ‘correct’ techniques look like.

That begs an important question.

“If you don’t use a lot of verbal or cognitive cues, how can you improve grappling skill and performance?”

First, we need to trust the process of “self-organization”. This may seem as if we just let athletes spar and then “Figure It Out” (FIO). It’s quite the opposite, though!

Instead, we try to create a training experience that encourages the athlete’s body to subconsciously choose more efficient pathways, while discouraging it from selecting less productive movement options.

One training method we use that encourages self-organization is known as A Constraints-Led Approach (CLA).

Constraints are physical or abstract boundaries, within which learners can search and explore their own movement solutions. Constraints are classified into three categories: performer, environment, and task constraints.

We’ll have more to offer on our approach in future posts, but for starters consider how one could apply constraints relevant to grappling for any of the three categories above. For example, check out how we’ve manipulated the task in this clip. Here we are only allowed to attack the sock/shoes of an opponent. You may notice that without any cognitive instruction, our young student is learning how to escape and hip heist in his first attempt at this CLA game!

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