SIDEBAR: Physical Ability Also Matters
Clients’ physical abilities are an important factor to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of your communication. If a client cannot physically do what you’re requesting, it’s bound to cause frustration. To determine the limits on physical capacities, you must ask three questions:
- Does this client have enough mobility and stability to get into the positions required to perform the movement she is learning? If yes, then you know that these factors are not overtly contributing to the failure of the movement pattern. Conversely, if these are limitations, then mobility and stability will need to improve before your coaching cues really start to work.
- Can the client coordinate the movement pattern? If the client has no positional limitations but still can’t get the movement right, then she probably needs to be taught specifically how to execute the movement pattern. Within this scenario, you should see your coaching facilitating a technical change. However, if you still see the client struggling to perform the movement with technical proficiency, especially if the movement is limited by strength or speed, then you must consider one final question.
- Does the client have the appropriate power and strength to perform the movement? If the client is not powerful enough to perform the movement under high-speed or loaded conditions, then you will see your cues fall short. This is why it is critical to understand the relative roles of strength, power and speed when you are identifying what is limiting your coaching’s throughput. It may simply be that the client is doing what you are saying, but her body is not able to express the technical cue owing to physical limitations.
In conclusion, to prioritize what you need to communicate over the short term and long term, you must assess your clients’ mobility, stability, strength, power and overall capacity . This is important information to have when calibrating clients’ expectations and dealing with any frustrations they encounter in trying to perform movement patterns. Figure 2 represents all the factors associated with communication flow in the context of learning and refining a movement pattern.
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IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 12, Issue 5
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