How to coach athletes for better performance

How to coach athletes for better performance


Most people would expect that the best way to master a skill is to perform it perfectly, over and over again. Repetition of perfect technique ingraining and refining the motor pattern. Paradoxically, the opposite tends to be true. The more you screw up when learning a new skill, the faster the skill is learned and the better it is retained.


Method of Error Amplification (MAE) rests on the assumption that feedback on an implicit level will be more effective than explicit feedback. Instead of simply telling an athlete what they did wrong, instead put them in a position that magnifies the error. This kinesthetic feedback teaches the athlete (both consciously and subconsciously) what “wrong” feels like, so they can make corrections to their technique to avoid the error.

This study wanted to compare MAE to Direct Instruction (DI) for improving snatch technique. MAE coaching helped lifters adopt a more linear bar path throughout the movement, helped the lift become more symmetrical (both sides of the bar attained more similar peak velocities), and helped the lifters keep the bar from crashing on them.

Hence, it does seem that MAE was more effective than DI at improving snatch technique in well-trained weightlifters, at least in the short term. DI may be more effective for a less well-trained population that would benefit from explicit instructions while learning the movements.


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Source: The effects of two different correction strategies on the snatch technique in weightlifting. doi:10.1080/02640414.2016.1172727

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