When talking about neuroplasticity and how do we effectively train to improve these deficits that occur, you will hear some talk about the constrained-action hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that an internal attentional focus could be negative on an athlete, causing them to interfere with their body's natural movements. In other words, there are two types of focus, internal focus and external focus.
- Internal focus is where there is a focus on body movements. Typical instructions we give that drive this type of focus is - don't let your knees go in toward midline, don't let your knee go over your toes, etc.
- External focus is where there is a focus on the movement effect. Typical instructions we give that drive this type of training is - when you jump, try to touch the hanging ball, when you jump, try to jump past the line.
- Be mindful of the instructions we use when we are instructing athletes
- Verbal instructions have a direct effect on motor performance
- Example 1 - I ask the athlete to perform a squatting motion to 90 degrees with the feet shoulder width apart while keeping their chest up and not allowing their heels to come off the floor.
- Example 2 - I demonstrate a squat and then ask them to repeat the motion.