There is a lot of talk about „differential learning“ (DL) on this blog. There are now numerous studies and testimonials that this approach to motor learning has advantages over technology-based learning: more effective, more sustainable, more stress-resistant, more creative. In the DL, no specifications are made about the „correct technology“. Therefore, in tennis training, we also speak of „developing technology“ and no longer „learning and teaching technology“.
By constantly varying the task, as many possible solutions as possible for the impact technique to be developed should be offered. There are even offered movements that are actually outside the known solution space („error“). From this broad spectrum, players seek out the appropriate individual movement solutions. This movement solution is not explicitly specified, as in traditional technology lessons. It is therefore a special phenomenon for players who have developed their technique in DL, that they can not describe their movement, their individual technique, as a rule. They act, colloquially expressed, „intuitively“.
These movement tasks can be offered in drills (throw, play out of basket or play with the partner). Of course, they are also part of games. Because of the demonstrable advantages of playful and close-to-the-game learning, the DL should also be installed as often as possible in game forms.
In the video you see an example for the DL. The coach „feeds“ the player with balls on forehand and backhand. On the way to the stroke the player has to run over a balance pad. From system theory and systemic learning, it is known that minimal changes can have a big impact. (In this example, the proprioceptive perception, the „depth perception“ is also improved as a „side effect“.)
In the DL we proceed in such a way that only the task is given by the coach: in this first example: „Play the ball alternately with forehand and backhand. Play the ball in the diagonally opposite half double field. Make sure you’re running with sidesteps over the balance pad. „
This drill is carried out until a fatigue of the player is recognizable (feedback!). An improvement of the game in the finish field is secondary! Studies on DL show that in fatigue movements become „fluid“.
After that, or in the next training, the task is varied. Here are just a few of countless variations. There are also consciously incorporated „errors“ in the movement execution.
Walk forward over the pad
Walk with exactly two steps over the Pa
Run backwards over the pad
Walk on tiptoe
Take an arm behind your back while running
Take the ball near leg when striking (open position)
Play only forehand
Play only backhand
Play the ball over a raised net
Play the ball „on purpose“ over the baseline
Play the ball „on purpose“ and high speed into the net
Run in the deep squat
Walk with your knees straightIn addition to the benefits of technology development, legwork, proprioceptive perception and motor learning, another positive aspect is shown. The training can be varied and thus the expectations of the performance and recreational athletes fairer. The still frequently practiced stupid „grinding in“ of a „textbook technique“ is replaced by constantly changing and non-repetitive tasks.