Using Singer’s 5 step approach

I wanted to discuss some of the pros and cons of this 5 step approach to skill learning. I’m coaching a large number of people in my new role and it’s giving me an opportunity to refine my coaching. Often I will see people for a small number of sessions with a week or 2 in between each one where they will put into practice the training session/s I have given them. This gives me a small window (usually 45 minutes) to establish some quality in the movement. I’ve been using Singer’s 5 step approach recently with some success.

Basically, you split the performance of a skill into 5 steps

  1. Readying – get into the right positions physically and mentally to perfrom the skill
  2. Imaging – visualise the movement
  3. Focusing – think about a single part of the action e.g. driving the opposite hip to the far wall during a step up
  4. Executing – perform the skill, ideally without dwelling on the focusing points
  5. Evaluating – review the movement…..then repeat.

It adds some time to the sets, but I’m ok with that as long as I get good movement. The important part I’m finding is the evaluation, filming sets and reviewing them helps the athlete to see where they’re going well and where they aren’t and quickly creates movement context. Once we have that we’re in business and we can start to add some variety (contextual interference (I’ve been at the motor control text books)). Give it a go and see how you get on.

As a slight aside, I’ve read a couple of blogs recently about keeping the amount of coaching to the minimum.  It doesn’t sit well with me because in the initial stages of skill learning, I’m coaching the crap out of these guys. I’ll use regular external cuing, video feedback, kinaesthetic feedback, verbal feedback and questioning to move through the cognitive learning stage as quickly as possible. I don’t think minimum is the right word. For me, optimum fits much better.

Neil Welch

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