There’s a reason the greatest sports and hero movies always have a training montage. Practicing a skill is never enough to beat the villain. The good guys prevail because they put the time and effort into building strength and using cross-training to get their bodies into top all-around shape.
Now that you have the Rocky theme song stuck in your head, we can discuss the importance of including cross-training for combat sports. Whether you teach martial arts, boxing, or wrestling, cross-training helps your athletes to prime their bodies for competition.
How Newell’s Model of Motor Learning Can Help You Become an Extremely Effective Martial Arts Instructor
In a 1985 paper, groundbreaking motor control and learning researcher Karl Newell mapped out 3 stages of learning that have proved useful across occupational therapy, physical therapy, sports, and other motor activities. According to Newell, developing skill within a domain of motor activity follows 3 recognizable steps:
Much effort is expended by martial artists to understand the best techniques and strategies of combat sports competition, but not much attention has been given to the perceptual skills that underpin competitive success. For this reason, it is a new and exciting frontier for leaders in coaching and training inside the martial arts community to consider.
Motor control is a field of study that “focuses on the neural, physical, and behavioral aspects that underlie human movement” . A major part of this is the human perceptual system, especially vision, and how that affects the way humans coordinate and execute movements. The two are intimately tied together. Therefore, the secret to better training methods is to understand how motor control works so that it can inform how coaches and learners approach it more effectively.