Constraints led or is there more? Back to the question.
Can we say, that the sportive action in this picture shows elements of differencial learning in tennis? Constraints change seeing, hearing, time, speed, field size, target, emotion,…
(Thx Mark O Sullivan for the picture, Mark is doing a wonderful job at AIK Stockholm and is writing about constraints led coaching, childrens rights in sports and more on the blog „Player development project„)
Wolfgang Schöllhorn, who has thought and researched about the best way of learning skills in sports, is helping me to understand the differences between Differential learning (DL) and the Constraints Led Approach (CLA) fixing one’s eye on the picture above.
„This is a nice example for explaining the difference of constraints led approach and differencial learning 😉 . Here you see extraordinary constraints in order to feel what you should not do in future (variant of contrast learning). But this only would become differencial learning if the boundary conditions would change next time, e.g. if the „other side“ would change the flying objects (size or speed) or if this guy would change his glasses, the mask, the racket, the technique, the target … next time. In differencial learning it is rather about the rate of change of boundary conditions, it is less about the stressful constraining situations that should be avoided next time. ;- ) “
find another word to describe what we do in our exercises in tennis? I think, that the way of differential learning (DL) is a better way for learners and players to develop technique and tactics in a sport like tennis. Still tennis coaching is dominated by methodical traditionalism and explicit learning.
Wolfgang Schöllhorn, scientist at Johannes-Gutenberg-University at Mainz, after long research about motor learning, has written an nice article about the history of nonlinear pedagogy und the constraints led approach (CLA). And why they are different to DL.
In this blog I use nonlinear pedagogy and CLA very often. They are following systemic theory and implicit learning. Making this real on courts, would be a milestone. But Schöllhorn has researched about motor learning and discovered, that there is a more effectiv way to learn. He called this Differential Learning (DL). In this article from 2019 he describes, why CLA is still dominated by the idea of leading the learner and that the coaches goal is still to bring him to a nonautonomous goal.
I think, Schöllhorn is right. This means in consequence: I have to overthink the terms I use to describe what my players do in trainings. Constraints can be understood as a term for changing courtsize, material, partners, tasks, emotions,…. but not from a pedagogical view and in distinction to CLA.
In der nächsten Ausgabe der Fachzeitschrift TennisSport befasse ich mich erneut mit dem Differenziellen Lernen im Tennis. Diesmal geht es um die Taktikentwicklung. Im Vordergrund stehen vielfältige Trainingsbeispiele, die ein kreativitätförderndes, spielerzentriertes Training ermöglichen.
„Man kann ja mal überlegen, weshalb Kinder in den ersten beiden Lebensjahren am schnellsten und meisten lernen, obwohl Sie den Eltern nicht zuhören und auch „wenig“ Bewegungsanweisungen von ihnen erhalten. Vielleicht muss man auch das ‚obwohl‘ nur ersetzen durch ‚weil‘.“ (Wolfgang Schöllhorn)
„Kein anderer Beitrag der Veranstaltung stieß auf so viel Beachtung und rief so heftige Reaktionen hervor, die von Erstaunen und begeisterter Aufnahme der Thesen bis zur ungläubigen Ablehnung reichten: War doch die Leitthese des Vortrags, während eines Lernprozesses einer Bewegungsfertigkeit führe nicht die ständige Wiederholung der angestrebten motorischen Fertigkeit zu einer optimalen Bewegungsausführung, sondern die Variation der Bewegung.“
Ein Sonderheft zum differenziellen Lernen von sportunterricht.
Prof Wolfgang Schoellhorn has published about new methods in motor learning in sports research. His studies about differential learning form one of the most important fundamentals in our learning and coaching approach.
We transform this theory in games and drills for tennis. In the book „Motor learning in practice – a constraints led approach“ published by Jan Renshaw, Keith Davids and others, Schoellhorn describes in the article „Stochastic perturbations in athletics field events enhance skill acquisation“ of 2010 why differential learning improves processes in comparison to traditional methods significantly.
Perhaps you are wondering what the key difference is between a non-linear understanding of learning and a traditional „if-then“ teaching.
The questions from (insecure) participants in my lectures and practical demonstrations often went in the direction: „How do I mediate/teach the right technique, if I only work implicitly as coach?“.
These questions made it clear that a non-linear and implicit understanding of teaching and learning is a completely different point of view for the coach (see chart). In contrast to the traditional methodology, in which the view of the coach is directed towards the development of the „right technique“, the coach in a non-linear setting trusts in the ability of the biological system „human being“ to self-directed development of situation-adapted (technical) solutions.
This is a post by the engaged coach and friend of mine Dimitrios Katsanos, coaching tennis in Berlin. He describes what already Björn Borg postulated, being one of the best tennisplayers in the world in the 80s. It is a plea for „natural learning“ and meanwhile it is a confirmation for evidence based coaching. Wolfgang Schöllhorn and other scientists have shown, that implicit/differencial learning is essential for effective learning and creativity in the players game.