December 21, 2010 by Gary McCoy
Your grandmother may have once said… Practice makes Perfect. Well intentioned but is it practice or is it perfect practice that makes perfect?
The answer lies with your goal…what are you practicing for? If its hypertrophy we know you’ll fatigue and get partial repetitions, you’ll also perform repetitions that are not 100% fluid or miss tempo. Perfect repetitions will still yield a “good result”. Same goes for cardiovascular training.. you can creep outside of desired Heart Rate Training Zones, and the effect will be minimal. So where is perfect practice critical?
Neuro-Mechanics (or the functions required for skill acquisition) is where perfect practice is needed. With every repetition of an act you are “burning in” a sensory motor pattern.
The neural mechanisms for acquisition of sophisticated motor behavior in athletes are very complex. There exists strong evidence in literature that human nervous system may be adaptively tuning internal models of the controlled system dynamics during motor learning.
No where in the field of athletics is this more important than in the sport of baseball where finite skill and repetition of the finite skill is critical to success.
Think about repeatable release points for pitchers, repeatable swing planes for hitters: There is a neurologically driven sequential process of the entire kinetic chain – from toes to nose-to affect a place (release point or bat position) that is just millimeters wide in the sphere of perfection space.
Perfect practice, the refinement of kinetic sequencing, and expansion of motor-neural pathways for the athlete needs training consistency. This is where the difference lies between “strength and Conditioning” coach and “Performance Coach“. Training the neuro-mechanics of the athlete include the visual system, and force production and force reduction components as they apply to in-game skill.
Your knowledge in this area is critical and bridges the gap between the pitching and hitting, base-running and fielding coaches of the game and the simplicity of physiological adaptation in the weight room.
In Neuro-Mechanics, perfect practice makes perfect for never-ending process of optimizing the athletes genetic potential.