How many times has this happened: you've just gotten home from a long day of work or school, you sit down on the couch to relax and just as you get comfortable, you notice that you're starving or you need to go to the bathroom? You might try to resist the urge because you're tired and don't want to get up, but eventually the need becomes far too strong and you have to act.
That feeling of being relaxed and having no needs at the moment is known as homeostasis, which is a kind of balance in the body and mind where everything is working properly. The strong feelings of hunger or needing to go to the bathroom are disruptions of your homeostatic state; your body is trying to tell you that in order to continue working properly and feel balanced, you will need to satisfy those needs!! The same applies for making game time adjustments. But trust me...Mom, Dad or Coach cannot make those changes for you!
Mom, Dad or Coach cant satisfy those needs of having to take a piss for you! They also cant satisfy your needs on the mound when you need to make an adjustment - especially when you just walked the bases loaded and have no idea if your FB is going to end up in the catchers glove or in the stands 40 feet above the back stop.
Adjustments need to come from within!! But yet, so many parents and coaches try to help by using “external” cues.
Well guess what!?!?
1.) You are only making it worse
2.) The human body has no interest in what the coach has to say as the autonomic nervous system only cares about regulating and making adjustments on an internal and self-organized level.
Trust me, we understand that you want to see your kid succeed!
But If you truly want your kid to succeed and make such adjustments, you will need to teach them how to accept non linearities & failures in their development - as these acceptances force athletes to come up with the best motor patterns given the nuances of the specific task at hand. This is super imperative for long-term skill development and allows for flexible and adaptable motor recruitment in the heat of the moment, when competition and other variables are introduced.
HOMEOSTASIS & THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
The term homeostasis was first coined by a psychologist named Walter Cannon in 1926. The term refers to an organism's ability to regulate various physiological processes to keep internal states steady and balanced. These processes take place mostly without our conscious awareness. Our internal regulatory systems have what is known as a set point for a variety of things. This is much like the thermostat in your house or the A/C system in your car. Once set at a certain point, these systems work to keep the internal states at these levels. When the temperature levels drop in your house, your furnace will turn on and warm things up to the preset temperature. In the same way, if something is out of balance in your body, or in this case your delivery and mechanics.....a variety of physiological reactions will kick in until the set point is once again reached......But only if you have built a training process that allows the body to do so!
When parents and coaches disrupt this natural process and try to protect their kids from failure, it limits and blocks the bodies reactions to self organize. As our self regulating internal pathways becomes blurred and disrupted by external cues, we only contribute to the underlying problem and make it nearly impossible for the internal system to find balance.
Think of the few things that could disrupt the bodies abilities to maintain homeostasis..... The first thing that comes to mind is "Disease". I think you get my point. Don't be the disease that puts a halt in your child's athletic development!
Remember....athletes don’t need external cues. External cues and attempts at such changes will only disrupt homeostasis! Plus.... the GREAT news is that us humans have something called a "nervous system" that will help self organize and balance inefficient movement on its own if trained properly!
The somatic nervous system (SNS) for example is responsible for conscious perception and voluntary motor responses. Voluntary motor response means the contraction of skeletal muscle, but those contractions are not always voluntary in the sense that you have to want to perform them. Some somatic motor responses are reflexes, and often happen without a conscious decision to perform them. If your friend jumps out from behind a corner and yells “Boo!” you will be startled and you might scream or leap back. You didn’t decide to do that, and you may not have wanted to give your friend a reason to laugh at your expense, but it is a reflex involving skeletal muscle contractions. Other motor responses become automatic (in other words, unconscious) as a person learns motor skills (referred to as “habit learning” or “procedural memory”).
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) for example is responsible for involuntary control of the body, usually for the sake of homeostasis (regulation of the internal environment). Sensory input for autonomic functions can be from sensory structures tuned to external or internal environmental stimuli. The motor output extends to smooth and cardiac muscle as well as glandular tissue. The role of the autonomic system is to regulate the organ systems of the body, which usually means to control homeostasis. Sweat glands, for example, are controlled by the autonomic system. When you are hot, sweating helps cool your body down. That is a homeostatic mechanism. But when you are nervous, you might start sweating also. That is not homeostatic, it is the physiological response to an emotional state.
In closing, If we can just learn to build the right training processes, motor pathways and let the natural processes play its course......the gains could be substantial!
How can we be certain? JUST LOOK BELOW AT THE 2018 FULLREPS BY THE NUMBERS!
JUST THINK ABOUT IT FOR A MINUTE!
Even if there was a magic word that mom or dad could scream out to help little Jimmy make that quick fix and produce that desired outcome.....have you ever considered the consequences that may follow with such quick fixes?
Remember, living systems store, retrieve, transmit & respond to information essential to life processes. Systems that rely on homeostasis rely on feedback mechanisms and can be affected by a number of environmental factors. The human body organizes itself in such a way that it COMPETES (natural selection). If you make drastic changes and disrupt homeostasis so quickly you’re just asking for injury....Your asking for short term success.
Accepting non-linearities in your training and learning to self organize using internal pathways creates that guided discovery and kinesthetic feel that promotes our athletes growth and understanding of their movements. On the contrary, focusing on the outcome does no such thing. The outcome only gives us a quantifiable which is useful for measuring growth but it is only a number to cheer about and were not here to be cheerleaders. We’re also not here to try and win our girlfriend a teddy bear at a carnival...We're here to develop skill acquisition and reach optimal levels of performance!!
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# A L W A Y S R E P P I N '
Scott Swanson // Founder, Director of Player Development
FullReps Training Center
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