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How to Teach Sport-Specific Movement Patterns

Joe Friel outlines his method for analyzing sport-specific movement patterns. After establishing a hierarchy to the movements, he teaches athletes each subcomponent until mastery is achieved.

A swim coach speaking to his athlete
  1. Identify: Determine the skill’s beginning and ending points. 
  2. Disassemble: Break the skill into two or more subcomponents and define the learning hierarchy. 
  3. Evaluate: Get a video of the athlete doing the skill and assess the athlete’s initial movement pattern for weaknesses. 
  4. Demonstrate: Show the athlete how to execute the most basic subcomponents, one at a time, exaggerating the movement pattern as needed. 
  5. Imitate: Have the athlete imitate one subcomponent at a time using drills to exaggerate and reinforce the movement. 
  6. Feedback: Get a video of the athlete doing the drill and review it with them, giving feedback to the athlete. 
  7. Proficiency: Repeat video assessments until each skill subcomponent is individually mastered by the athlete. 
  8. Reassemble: Have the athlete combine the subcomponents of the skill into one complete movement pattern. 
  9. Replicate: Video the new movement pattern, provide feedback on the complete movement pattern. Compare with initial assessment to note progress. 
  10. Consideration: Suggest drill(s) and identify individualized concerns for the athlete to focus on as training progresses.