Wednesday, July 20, 2011
"False" Stepping 2
In an open environment an athlete is trying to position themselves quickly and effectively into an optimal biomechanical position (positive shin angle) displacing one’s center of gravity. In order for an athlete to overcome inertia, one has to displace their center of gravity ‘outside’ of their body … along with that, how does the “plyo/false” step set up each subsequent step thereafter?
In a reactive environment in which an athlete might find themselves in an athletic position but not aware of which direction of movement comes next, I have seen many levels and abilities of athletes utilize a “plyo/false” step for advancing forward. (i.e. tennis, infielder in baseball, basketball, volleyball, football). An objective measurement would help settle this long standing debate, but is very difficult to control for in an open environment. The environmental context will change things and I think the “plyo/false” step might at times be an athlete’s most successful option...
The question remains for those coaches that believe you need to coach this instinctive false stepping out of the athlete, how does increasing conscious control in a reactive environment enhance an athlete’s success at getting from point A to a random point B as fast as possible?
Research has shown that activity in the brains motor region can be detected 300 milliseconds prior to the person feeling he/she has decided to move. Lots of research in neuroscience regarding free will is pressing this issue too; regarding subconscious decisions vs. conscious ones and many are showing a delay in the time between the two.
Also, in the forward model of motor control, it’s stated that often the consciousness is alerted to movements/behaviors that are already being planned and performed, and isn’t necessarily ‘causing’ these behaviors/movements. To me, 300 milliseconds is a long time… and every time I line athletes up on the line in an athletic position with feet square to the finish for a 20 meter race (I did it with a group this morning) they all “plyo/false” step on “GO!”. Is every athlete wrong? Or do their bodies have something to say about this interplay with gravity and physics?
Working against the subconscious to NOT "false" step in certain situations would be an internal focus... less effective than external focus of attention: getting to point B as fast as possible. There are many factors to take into consideration when analyzing and deciphering training plans… in open sports, taking in the sensory information, interpreting, and decision making in the fastest manner possible is all part of the visible physical movements that we see in game action.