The “2 out of 5” rule for Caoches and Athletes

“Movements are only as good as the sensory impressions that govern them!”

Parents of young Athletes, Coaches and Athletes often ask me the same questions: ” How much is enough? How stressable is she/he? How far should I go? Was it too much? How many reps?…

The Answer is simple. All You need to be is disciplined and diligent to answer it. Before You get all involved in biochemics, performance physiology and sportsscience there is one simple rule to follow. “Watch for signs of fatigue…” “What that means is 2 out of 5…” “Do You know our simple 5 step cycle of fatigue?

  1. muscle fatigue – leads to…
  2. constrained coordination – leads to…
  3. increased concentration – drops and leads to…
  4. lack of sensory impressions ( from periphery ) – leads to…
  5. loss of motivation

These are 5 Basic things to look out for when You are coachen or training.

Imagine You are running. After a certain time you feel your legs tighten up or getting heavy, without getting to much into the biochemistry of what exactly is happening, we all agree- Your muscle is getting tired ( 1.). If you watch closely You will find, that coordinating Your steps and pace now becomes somewhat more concious, meaning you have to coordinate conciousely because your muscles don’t respond as automatically as they did some time ago (2.).Your coordination weakens. To compensate,  You increase Your focus and switch to a higher level of concentration. You might say “fine”…Yeah but do You have unlimited concentration ( 3.)? Of course not. Even when driving long distance with Your car or writing an exam you can feel getting tired. But back to our example, Your muscle gets tired, Your coordination becomes weaker, Your Concentration to control first increases, then wears off.  Thus an additional load of neurological “traffic” occurs in Your brain and nervous system, some of it overlaying or later even overwriting feedback-information of Your limbs – You are starting to have a decreased sensory impression or input. So now You even get little or poor information from the bodyparts working. That makes controlling Your movements even harder because You are playing the ” fill in the gap game” with Your Motorcortex.

The result is loss of control –

Now imagine this for Your sport? Tennis, Figureskating, Martial Arts, Football, Racing…

If running becomes hard, try controlling a ball, a skate or an opponent on top of it…?

Coaches – are You sure You want to pre-tire Your Athlete so she can really feel what it means to play a hard opponent and after that You finish the lesson with some Serves?

Do You really want to go through a hard workout and in the end do techniquecorrections or things that need concentration?

All this often leads to number 5 – Your Athlete or Yourself throwing in the towel. Getting frustrated repeating the same mistake over and over, beware this motivational loss is only the symptom of a massive problem beneath it. You are training or coaching your motorcortex how NOT to do it, instead HOW to do it…You are giving yourself a lesson in negativity and failure.

This cascade of fatigue is unstoppable, merely because the weariness of one of the 5 automatically will lead to a higher load and earlier fatigue of the other. So watch out for the mighty 5 and if you reach 2 out of 5, it’s time to STOP doing what you are doing. This even is a perfect tool for governance of Your training to find out if there is a muscledeficite, coordinationdefecite or a concentrationproblem? Which tires earlier? Then start working on this isolated.

Else it is time for REST…oh and that is whole other chapter

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