Coaches are always looking for ways to improve their training programs. Whether it is new equipment or better practices, if you are not an early adapter you might be leaving some performance gains on the table. However, what if there was a way to increase the effectiveness of your program without having to change a single aspect of it? You don’t need any new periodization scheme and you don’t need any new special exercise. You can simply make your program more effective by providing athletes with both verbal and visual feedback. What do I mean?
Verbal can come from the coach while visual can be done with a velocity measuring device/jump mat/anything that gives a quantitative value. There have been studies looking at the effects of long-term (6 weeks) and immediate feedback (verbal and visual) on performance.In all three studies, feedback was shown to be an effective way to increase the training effect (1,2,3).
Verbal feedback is something a coach is already familiar with. However, there may be a couple of issues with relying on verbal feedback. Firstly, it is possible that your athletes no longer get the same motivation from your feedback. Some athletes may respond, while others may just desensitize to it over time. Secondly, a coach cannot be with every single athlete at every single rep. Yes, it would be ideal to have a coach at every station, but its just not possible.
Visual feedback is much easier to accomplish at every station. All you need is some type of device to quantify the activity you are doing (Tendo Units, Jump Mats, LPTs, etc…). It is also possible that the visual feedback might be more motivating than the coach’s verbal feedback.The visual feedback makes the individual self-invested. It is their number that appears on the machine and they are responsible for it. When you are lifting with partners, it may become competitive and the athletes might start to compete with each other and themselves.
How To Implement It
Not every lift during every session needs to involve feedback. However, the lifts that are more “power” driven might be your best choices. For example, you may want to have visual/verbal feedback when the athlete is performing a clean, squat, deadlift, bench, jump, or any other “big” movement. However, you might be wasting your efforts focusing on performance feedback during a band pull apart, dumbbell side raise, or other “smaller” auxiliary movements.
Video of Cam Josse Using Visual Feedback During a Training Session
There are some simple strategies you can add to your training to make what you currently have more effective. Whether it is having your tendos on for every rep, teaching your athletes how to read/use them, or having Jump Mats set up during your plyometric days, using feedback takes little to no effort and can increase your training gains.
1) Dunn-lewis, C., & Hooper, D. R. (2014). Positive Effects of Augmented Verbal Feedback on Power Production in NCAA Division I Collegiate…, (April). http://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e31827a9c2a
2) Effect of performance feedback during velocity based resistance training(Revision 2) 2015. (n.d.)
3) Scientiarum, A., Science, H., & Antonio, S. (2015). Effects of verbal encouragement on performance of the multistage 20 m shuttle run, (January). http://doi.org/10.4025/actascihealthsci.v37i1.23262