The motor behavior is a combination of sensory responses of the body to the environment so that efficient movements could be produced (Clark, Lucett, McGill, Montel, & Sutton, 2018). The external environment, the task, and the individual make up the constant dynamic response of the human body kinetic chain—nervous, skeletal, muscular—systems in order to control movements, but also to learn new movements (Renshaw, Davids, & Savelsbergh, 2012; Clark et al., 2018). Although the central nervous system dictates and transfer information, it is the skeletal and the muscular systems interact to produce a movement. Therefore, it is critical for trainers working with an athlete to familiarize themselves with motor behavior and its sub-components—motor control, motor learning, and motor development.
Motor control is a process by which the central nervous system uses to dictate movements and postures (Clark et al., 2018). The external and internal sensory information are used along with previous experience helps the body to produce safe and efficient movements for the body. In a study by Streicher et al. (2014), motor control training for people with backpain, the emphasis places on undemanding exercises with focus on coordination, proprioception, and concentration—with individual feedback and notes. Surprisingly, their study sees improvement in both the control group (regular therapy) and the individual group (with feedback and notes from instructors). However, motor control is fundamentally a part of any training, including rehabilitation, but not exclusive when training for better movements (Streicher et al., 2014).
Motor learning is a process of motor control, the environment, practice, and experience integrating so that movements could be learned and retained for future uses (Clark et al., 2018). This important aspect has tremendous implications for athletes and trainers working to ensure optimal skilled movements. Learning a skill movement takes time and practice, thereby gaining the sensorimotor experience that motor control can properly organize the kinetic chain—neural, skeletal, and muscular (Clark et al., 2018). One way to excite the sensorimotor network, according to Kim et al., (2017), is to adopt the contextual inference when try to learn or practice new movement skills. The more the contextual interference, also known as random practice, is used the more effective the learning would be in both skills’ retention and future performance, as compared to motor learning in blocked (Kim et al., 2017). Therefore, the more feedback—sensory and sensorimotor integration—the better would augment the motor learning process in acquiring and retaining movement skills (Renshaw et al., 2012; Kim et al., 2017; Clark et al., 2018).
The human body, through its kinetic chain, has the ability to control and learn new movements. This ability to control and learn new movement skills begins with the nervous system, specifically in the unit of neurons (Clark et al., 2018). These motor neurons are developed as a person grows from a baby into an adult. The sensory function and integrative function with daily motor learning, these neurons form the basis for motor behavior, such as walking or running (Clark et al., 2018). For the athletes, with needed specialized movement skills, therefore, it is correct to say to train the nervous system—central and peripheral—so that motor behavior and motor learning would produce proper movements for performance; at the same time reduce the risk of injuries. The implication for trainers and young athletes is that train the nervous system as early as possible when the neurons are developing to form motor behavior. And of course, excite the sensorimotor through contextual interference so that motor skills can retained and permanent for sports performance (Kim et al., 2017).
Clark, M., Sutton, B. G., & Lucett, S. (2015). NASM essentials of sports performance training. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Kim, T., Chen, J., Verwey, W., & Wright, D. (2018). Improving novel motor learning through prior high contextual interference training. Acta Psychologica, 182, 55-64. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.11.005
Renshaw, I., Davids, K., & Savelsbergh, G. J. (2012). Motor learning in practice: A constraints-led approach. London: Routledge.
Streicher, H., Mätzold, F., Hamilton, C., & Wagner, P. (2014). Comparison of group motor control training versus individual training for people suffering from back pain. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 18(3), 489-496. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.12.006
Fitness & Conditioning
For a tennis player to perform at their best, they must have just the right mix of aerobic and anaerobic endurance, explosive strength and power, speed off the mark and agility. The amount of strength, speed, agility and flexibility conditioning a player is prepared to undertake has been linked to the standard of performance.