The feedback of action and learning results is considered, from the different approaches, next to the exercise itself, as the most important influencing factor of motor learning. For this reason it is central for coaches to know what, when and in what form should be placed with an athlete in order to result in optimal performance development.
If the coach’s subtask of improving the athlete’s execution of movement is considered, the first step for the teacher is to assess the executed movement. The trainer must be aware of two focus limitations. On the one hand, the area with the greatest visual acuity lies within 2⁰, which corresponds approximately to the thumbnail when the arm is extended. On the other hand, there is the so-called saccadic supression. This refers to a suppression of perception between two eye anchors. In this phase of 20-200 ms the trainer only sees what she thinks she see. In order to get a comprehensive idea of the quality of the movement despite these focus restrictions, it is important for the trainer to choose a good observation position on the one hand and on the other hand to define a look resp. observation strategy in advance.
A movement can be considered under various qualitative and quantitative aspects, which can influence the resulting performance both individually and in their interaction. As practice has shown, as a trainer it is imperative to decide in advance for a few observation points. A checklist with a view to the functional aspects of a movement may also provide support. The analysis of the movement then deals with the identification of the main and subsequent errors. This is where the relevance of the teachers’ knowledge of movement specific to the sport becomes apparent. Main errors in particular must be considered repeatedly, but the expected errors must also be questioned. If a correction is considered necessary, the trainer must plan an intervention.
Error feedback from a scientific point of view
A glance at the literature shows that various research efforts have focused on the phenomenon of feedback and its influence on performance. Magill (2007) divided feedback into task-intrinsic and augmented feedback, as shown in the figure below . The former refers to what the athlete himself notices from the movement. However, this sensory feedback is subject to restrictions with regard to the perception of a movement. The augmented feedback means additional external feedback, i.e. what the athlete does not notice.
At an example illustrated: a swimmer can not see how he executes the arm pull over the water. A video or the trainer’s verbal information can supplement his sensory perceptions. The swimmer can increasingly differentiate his initially inaccurate kinaesthetic perception by creating connections between this information and a cognitively representative perception of movement.
Empirical results for error feedback
Summarising the study situation, the following points must be observed for female trainers:
- Give precise feedback: the more precise, the better, whereby the level of detail should only reach so far that the athlete still has a connection to it.
- Give correct feedback: Learners adapt very quickly to response. In order to promote an athlete further, it is important to ask oneself again and again in the role of the trainer whether one is still able to give feedback according to the level.
- Do not correct during movement: If the person moving receives information during the movement, the immediate performance is higher, but there is a drastic turn from appropriation to retention. The following findings from a corresponding study show this effect, which is often misinterpreted in practice, particularly impressively .
- Ask for self-assessment
- Confirm Summarized
- Promoting self-correction mechanisms
- Do not overstate time structure: natural re-registration period. Memory given.
- Explain video feedback: if a positive internal reference value is to be established, there are two possibilities: the athlete is shown a video with correct motion execution or a video with poor motion execution is adequately commented. Watching the video alone shows little learning effect, as mistakes are repeated.
Focus on coaching – AZUM system takes care of the rest
We regularly publish exciting articles in the fields of training and nutrition that will help you as a coach and athlete. Just subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on the social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube) to make sure you don’t miss anything.
 Magill, R.A. & Anderson, D. (2007). Motor learning and control. Concepts and applications (10. Aufl.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
 Armstrong, T.R. (1970). Feedback and perceptual motor skill learning: a review of information feedback and manual guidance techniques. Ann Arbor: Human Performance. Zit. n. Schmidt, R. A. & Lee, T. D. (1999). Motor control and learning: A behavioral emphasis (3. Aufl.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.