091220 Part one-The relationship between load intensities and the learning of and improvement of technical skills

Preface to the article

Due to the Covid-19 virus, I was offered the opportunity to take a leave of absence from my school district which is in a hybrid learning situation. Based on many factors, including the most important, that of taking care of our grandchildren while their Dad and my wife are working, I took the leave of absence from my school district.

I am hopeful that come next September and with the vaccine being available I will be back in the weight room with my great students.

The following was previously published in the Washington State Coaches Magazine.

091220 Part one-The relationship between load intensities and the learning of and improvement of technical skills

Different training and percentage loads produce different results. Each level of intensity elicits a particular range of responses in regards to learning and technique improvement within the athlete.

In general, the beginner gains the most from low intensity motor skill exercises when first learning the skill set necessary for their sport or sport position. This is a basic element of skill learning.

With low to moderate level intensity, the athlete is able to maintain control during the execution of individual parts or the entire movement. This allows total control of each element in turn or completion of the full range of movement for the complete exercise in the precise order necessary to achieve perfection.

Often times, especially in the weight room, lifters can be seen literally throwing the weights up and down with the hope they will be able to complete the lift with the load. Not only is this extremely poor technique but it is an accident waiting to happen.

A more advanced reason for not going too fast in the beginning is that it does not allow the body enough time to completely establish the sensory loops to fully work themselves out during the performance of the lift or exercise. This means there are gaps in the learning process that will eventually hold the athlete back when it comes to perfecting the motion.

A classic example is with the runner trying to go too fast too soon. Their form suffers due to a lack of attention to the task, their movement patterns suffer because of the increased attention to more speed. The final kicker in this is their undue concentration on more speed interferes with their brains ability to clearly establish the proper sequence of motor excitation necessary to actually run faster.