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The Language of Coaching - A Story About Learning

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This presentation was delivered in 2019 at the Perform Better Summits. This talk focused on the impact coaching language (instructions, cues, and feedback) has on the way people learn to move. Profiling many of the topics covered in my forthcoming book, "The Language of Coaching," this presentation will help anyone who teaches movement elevate HOW they coach to the same level as WHAT they coach.

Published in: Education
  • Nick was amazing here in Chicago, super "Thankful" to him for sharing the incredibly helpful new "Cueing" info.
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The Language of Coaching - A Story About Learning

  1. 1. The language of coaching / Nick Winkelman, PhD
  2. 2. The coaching communication loop… -00:02:00 DESCRIBE -00:00:30 CUE -00:00:00 DO +00:00:30 DEBRIEF -00:00:60 DEMONSTRATE Extended description of the activity Physical demonstration of the activity Brief phrase used to bring focus to the activity Player focuses and performs activity Player & coach feedback is considered
  3. 3. ATTENTION LANGUAGECUEING
  4. 4. To understand the impact of coaching cues on skill learning, we must first understand the role of attention
  5. 5. WE CAN ONLY LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCES WE PAY ATTENTION TO, THUS A COACH’S CHIEF RESPONSIBILITY IS TO FIRST… CAPTURE KEEP DIRECT
  6. 6. ATTENTION IS A LIMITED CAPACITY RESOURCE COACHES, LIKE BANKERS, GUIDE ATHLETES’ ATTENTIONAL INVESTMENTS WE CAN ONLY ‘PAY ATTENTION’ TO #1 THING AT A TIME
  7. 7. Say the most with the least, provide athletes with ONE CUE, one major focus point at a time
  8. 8. Now that we know how much to say, the next question we need to address is what to say.
  9. 9. Narrow | Internal Broad | Internal Close | External Far | External The continuum of coaching cues… ANALOGY
  10. 10. Narrow | Internal Broad | Internal Close | External Far | External The continuum of coaching cues… ANALOGY No evidence to support its effectiveness Possible benefit compared to narrow Internal Conclusive evidence confirming effectiveness Conclusive evidence confirming effectiveness Conclusive evidence confirming effectiveness
  11. 11. Yeah…Yeah…Where’s the proof?
  12. 12. WHAT IS THE STANDARD COMMUNICATION PRACTICE? 67%INT 22%EXT 11% 85%INT 15%EXT
  13. 13. NEUROMUSCULAR
  14. 14. Halperin et al., 2016 STRENGTH – FORCE PRODUCTION CON: “go as hard & fast as you can” INT: “contract your legs as hard & fast as you can” EXT: “push the ground as hard & fast as you can” Force: EXT (9i% | 3c%) > CON (5i%) > INT “Research consistently shows that external cues improve muscular force, endurance, speed, and efficiency”
  15. 15. Porter et al., 2010 POWER – EXPLOSIVE FORCE PRODUCTION INT: “Extend your knees as rapidly as possible” EXT: “Jump as far past the start line as possible” DISTANCE: EXT (187.37 +/- 42.66 cm) INT (177.33 +/- 40.97 cm) “Research consistently shows that external cues improve vertical and horizontal jump performance”
  16. 16. MOVEMENT SKILL
  17. 17. SOCCER…
  18. 18. INJURY & TECHNIQUE
  19. 19. L R WHAT DO INJURED ATHLETES FOCUS ON?
  20. 20. L WHAT DO INJURED ATHLETES FOCUS ON? L R
  21. 21. INT: ‘‘Jump as far as you can. I want you to think about extending your knees as rapidly as possible’’ EXT: ‘‘Jump as far as you can. I want you to think about pushing yourself off as hard as possible from the floor.’’ WHAT ABOUT TECHNIQUE?
  22. 22. PRESSURE & CHOKING
  23. 23. Experiment 1 | Streak Gray, R. (2004 & 2006) Hitting Streak ↑ Errors Hitting Slump ↓ Errors
  24. 24. Experiment 2 | Pressure Gray, R. (2004 & 2006) No Pressure 39% Error Pressure 18% Error
  25. 25. THE FUTURE OF INTERNAL
  26. 26. EMG & ACTIVATION…
  27. 27. The last idea we put in our athlete’s head before they move should be an EXTERNAL CUE
  28. 28. APPLICATION
  29. 29. Cue Anatomy Distance Proximal (Close) Distal (Far) Direction Toward/ Away Up/ Down Description Action Word (Verb) Analogy (Metaphor) Winkelman, 2016 (Dissertation)
  30. 30. The anatomy of a cue… Focus on being quick off the ground Descriptor “HOW” Direction “AWAY” Distance “CLOSE” Focus on driving hard toward the finish Descriptor “HOW” Direction “TOWARD” Distance “FAR”
  31. 31. DISTANCE "Push the ground back with as much force as possible" "Explode through the finish with as much speed as possible"
  32. 32. DIRECTION "Drive the (GREEN) tape away from the start line as fast as you can" "Drive the (GREEN) tape toward the finish as fast as you can"
  33. 33. DESCRIPTION "Explode out like a cheetah is two steps behind you" "Explode out and up like a jet taking off from an aircraft carrier"
  34. 34. SUMMARY
  35. 35. The coaching communication loop… -00:02:00 DESCRIBE -00:00:30 CUE -00:00:00 DO +00:00:30 DEBRIEF -00:00:60 DEMONSTRATE Ext + Int language (WHAT) External Cues + Analogies (HOW) Question Comment Collaborate

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