Joggling is a competitive sport that infuses jogging and juggling. In longer distance events, palm-sized beanbags filled with birdseed are used for their resistance to wind, yet convenient size for extended bouts. For the sixteen-hundred-meter race, or one mile, the joggler must juggle three of these bean bags while competing for the lowest time. In order to achieve a high level of competitiveness, the joggler must be proficient at both juggling the minimum of three beanbags while holding a pace that qualifies them as a contender in the race. To accomplish this, it’s important that athletes prepare beforehand to optimize both realms of criteria.
Before any instruction should begin, the athlete must give their undivided attention to the presentation and demonstration of the movement. The environment, a classroom, should have little to no distractions. Increasing the engagement and motivation of the athletes stimulates interest and this motivation has been linked to improved learning. This engagement can be accomplished by telling the athletes how the demonstration will proceed and what they should pay attention for. The initial presentation has the aim of both increasing knowledge and laying the groundwork for increasing the motivation of the athletes to pay attention to the subsequent demonstration. Instructions are presented so that all participants can see and hear clearly. The classroom and the athletes should be situated in a pattern that allows clear visual and auditory communication. Verbal instruction should consider the learners at their skill level, and avoid confusing terminology, excessive descriptions, and foregoing minor details. Conveying the correct message requires considering the individual at hand during the instruction. Giving the presentation on the entire skill first allows the athletes to be exposed to the concept of the movement as a whole, and then the breakdown of the major technical features follows. This style best suites both analytical and big picture learners and should be used for multiple viewing angles. It’s best to use bullet point instructions, or verbal cues, that are easily remembered cues to action in order to optimize self-talk instruction during practice. Utilizing precise language, the instructions should be accurate and short rather than too lengthy in detail. To accommodate to both learning styles, the big picture should be presented first. This includes the aim of the practice, the event, and the movement. Then the information can be presented in a step-by-step, sequential manner which totals to the larger picture. This will include the rules, guidelines, and procedures necessary to perform the joggling event. Understanding the modality of each athlete is an important first step in the presentation and demonstration of the skill. Listening to the language of each athlete as they give feedback on what they know about the sport before the presentation and what they’ve learned after the demonstration or presentation can cue in what modality they perceive from most. Providing the athletes with the opportunity to ask questions after skill presentation also enhances the confirmation of their understanding of instructions as well. Therefore, it’s important that the athlete is exposed to several perceptual modes to increase retention and learning. An eclectic approach should be utilized where many modality types can be engaged through varying the mode of instruction. Explanations that accommodate their learning style allows the learner to process information more effectively and increase learning capability. Demonstrations and presentations will include visual and auditory instruction for all athletes. Further clarification of what was understood is possible to enhance analytical learning, and the kinesthetic modality is satisfied by the application of the components of the movement during demonstrations and practice. From the presentation and demonstration standpoint, there will be relevant and irrelevant cues that must be addressed that novices will find difficult to differentiate. Demonstrations and verbal instruction should emphasize the major talking points of the presentation and the cues used to instruct. These verbal cues should be repeated when demonstrations and presentations are moved from the classroom setting to the environment which the athlete will perform. This repetition in cue recognition while instructions are being applied will increase the learning of the athletes.
Following a presentation and demonstration with practice is more effective than either practicing or instructing on their own. For the novice athlete, several presentations and demonstrations will occur in the sequence mentioned above before hands on practice begins. As an athlete gains proficiency, they will practice directly after demonstrations and presentations. Utilizing several presentations and demonstrations to teach the components of the whole skill will familiarize the novice athletes with the non-outcome oriented aspects of the sport. Further, practice will be in the form of a part-method practice series and the individual elements of the overall skill are what will be emphasized first. It’s important to teach the task constraints early on so that athletes can build behaviors that fit within them. The goals, rules, implements, and machines should become familiar to the athlete within the first presentation and demonstration that involves hands on practice. Joggling requires manipulating the invariant features of the movement until successful execution has occurred. The relative force, and timing, are key invariant features that produce the ideal rhythm and movement. Throughout the learning process, two parameters will be especially vital to increasing performance. They include the duration of the activity, and the overall force. Introducing the athletes to these variables will give them greater affordances that they are aware of controlling to enhance their performance. Muscle selection and movement direction are two parameters which have lesser application in improving the skill level of the athlete, and will not be emphasized. Practice, demonstrations, and presentations should all vary in length based on the skill level of the athlete. Minimal exposure to the task initially should accommodate a novice whom will lose technique and capability with greater duration. Extended periods of practice could result in negative perceived capability and will reinforce faulty belief systems about response outcomes in the schema being developed, and this can reinforce negative movement patterns as technique diminishes. As the confidence of the athlete grows, and their experience and performance increases, then the athlete can increase the duration of practice. When an athlete begins as a novice, the length of the presentations and demonstrations should remain the most time consuming. Greater exposure to observational learning from a skilled model can give the athlete the appropriate stimulus for building confidence and a strong schema associated with success. Further, mirror neurons will assist in visualizing the appropriate parameters for success. When an athlete improves past the skill level of a novice, they can increase the practice time and reduce the demonstration and presentation times. Eventually when an athlete increases their performance to the advanced or elite level, they will receive feedback in real time and be able to make corrections upon request instead of needing to watch demonstrations or presentations. However, different forms of feedback will still be supplemented, including visual feedback by camera video.
During practice, athletes should be observed using a video camera from multiple perspectives. This film can be used for the analysis of the key features of movement, which can help identify the underlying source of errors. Incorporating the athlete into the problem solving process aids in their understanding of the biomechanics of the movement. This, in turn, can effectively enhance their skill ability. Communicating the five categories that lead to error will give the athlete better problem solving ability on their own when correcting errors. Once the error has been diagnosed as either a comprehension, response selection, execution, sensory, individual, task, or environmental error, then the appropriate measure for correction can be taken. It will be necessary to ask whether correcting the error is worth the investment in time. As long as errors are recognized early on in novices, correcting these errors shouldn’t require too much work. Augmented feedback will be used to correct errors while intrinsic feedback is encouraged in athletes to understand their own errors. Particularly, audio and visual displays are the primary augmented feedback mechanisms because they are practical, unlike biofeedback which has no bearing in the performance of the athlete. All errors will be addressed using both error correction and a focus on what was done correctly. This method spares the athlete the impression that their performance was entirely incorrect and improves motivation. Auditory feedback is often given during practice, while visual display feedback has a feedback-delay interval that waits until the subsequent presentation later.
Juggling, in the context of a joggling event, is primarily a closed skill requiring fine motor skills. It is a continuous skill that is internally paced by the juggler as they run around the track. Beginning as a complex skill, the aim of practice up to the event is to minimize the attentional demands that are required to perform the juggling sequence. This freeing of the attention allows the joggler to place greater emphasis on the race. Eventually this schema develops into a self-reinforcing performance which allows the performer to fall into a state of optimal concentration during competition. Those who are new to juggling will suffer from a limited attentional capacity. Therefore, it’s important that the athlete focus on the juggling aspect itself before including the running aspect. To begin, athletes should minimize the environmental complexity to enhance learning and concentration on task. For novices, the task requires a high attentional capacity, and if more attentional space is warranted than is available, the level of the performance of the task will decline, or the task may be ignored all together. Reducing the distractions in the environment, which will require attentional capacity to observe, will foster a greater ability to learn the motor skills necessary to become competent at juggling. Further, it should be noted that the skill level of the juggler relates to the complexity of the task, and the amount of attentional resources required. Therefore, it’s recommended that the juggling remain in the classroom of instruction and demonstration until adequate competence of juggling has been affirmed. A novice should focus on one task at a time to avoid exceeding their attentional capacity. A part practice method is best utilized by novices because learning the whole skill can be overwhelming and counterproductive. The athlete should be given plenty of time to practice the components of the skill before they are asked to complete the whole movement. This allows the athlete to familiarize and focus on the cues necessary to monitor performance. As the athlete learns to juggle, their senses allow them to monitor both internal and external cues that relate to the maintenance of juggling the three bean bags. A feedback loop is created between the visual and proprioceptive senses and the cues that are relevant to task completion. Ideally, each component should be practiced using the part practice method in order to focus on the cues that help identify the state of the movement. For example, once a bean bag reaches a peak height after a toss, another bean bag should be tossed into the air, and the opposite hand should prepare for catching the initial bean bag. This instruction has several cues built into the one cue of observing the height of the beanbag in the air. Making this response selection automatic is an initial goal. Once the attentional demands for each component have been mastered, and the cues have become synchronized within a comfortable rhythm of juggling, then the learner is able to add more features to the component, or combine them into a whole practice. This method prevents the athlete from trying to pay attention to too much when combining the components, as most neuromuscular coordination errors can be attributed to consciously attending to the task. If the athlete must pay attention to several cues, or think about the movement too much, then they are more likely to make mistakes. The athlete should be able to remain in a state of flow which feels natural and automatic for some time before they attempt to advance their skill. Jugglers will also enhance juggling ability through implicit learning, which will not require attentive verbal instruction on learning characteristics of beanbag flight, hand placement, etc. The more the juggler is exposed to the activity of juggling, the greater their unconscious ability to regulate the conditions that maintain it. As the learner develops their juggling, they will be able to shift their focus using selective attention to the external environment. An external focus should be maintained while joggling, as the skill requires an understanding of the hand placement, visual cues, and monitoring the force of throwing the beanbags while jogging. Further, an internal focus will diminish the athlete’s performance and will detract from recognizing relevant information during the race. A joggler must be aware of their competition, running in their lane, where they are in relation to the finish line, etc. A joggler cannot have an internal focus during a race, and therefore the proprioceptive and visual cues related must be mastered so that the athlete’s limited attention can be given to the external cues of the competition.
After practicing, the athletes will continue to return to demonstration and presentations. The time necessary for demonstrations and presentations will depend on the performance level of the athlete, and may only include visual feedback for the advanced athlete. Supplementary time for demonstrations will be allotted to those who choose to participate, giving them control over their viewing frequency. Feedback is initially given through guided discovery; athletes approach the instructor with their experiences, and the instructor frames the situation as questions that lead to an exploration of the problem and the solution. This problem solving engagement encourages the athlete to ask good questions that lead to error detection and solution. As experience increases, and the extent of the correctable mistakes reduces, the instructor can encourage discovery learning because the athlete has more knowledge about the task’s parameters. This further allows the athlete to explore the root causes of their errors and make corrections on their own, facilitating understanding and learning. Manual guidance is not recommended, as the direct manipulation of the limbs will unlikely aid in the juggling motion. Therefore, it is only recommended to demonstrate the rhythm of hands, and correct running form through observational learning.
Joggling involves closed-loop system motor programs. Using intrinsic feedback, the athlete can predict the outcome of their movements. As a beanbag is tossed, readjustments to the relative force used are made. Running speed and stride are altered depending on the distance to the finish line and the demands placed on them by competition. Minor modifications occur throughout the event, and despite the automatic nature of execution that comes with expertise, the athlete is always monitoring the conditions of the task to make corrections. An eventuality is that the athlete is able to monitor and maintain the ideal rhythm and relative force to juggle three bean bags while having the attentional capacity to run a race. Increasing the overall duration of either juggling, or joggling, is a measurement of the capacity to remain in this optimized state. All error correction is referenced by this model, and poor performance can be attributed to deviations from these optimal conditions. For example, it must be emphasized that there is a speed and accuracy tradeoff. When correcting errors, this speed-accuracy relationship should be recognized. If the movement is performed too quickly, then there is a higher likelihood of error depending on skill level. Therefore, one factor associated with neuromuscular coordination errors will be practicing the movement too quickly without mastery of the technique. Increasing speed and causing more errors can become habit, and the neuromuscular movement patterns at the beginning of practice are highly important to perform correctly. If the movement technique is faulty then the athlete will have to learn the correct technique later, and negative transfer will accompany that transition. Of particular importance to movement are the proprioceptive and visual senses. During a race, the perceptual field of the joggler must widen to take in environmental features. With practice and time, the joggler will experience implicit learning that reinforces an external focus and monitors pattern recognition and environmental cues. The cones of the eye are specialized for color vision and visual acuity. They operate best when looking directly at the object of attention, and this will generally be the case during juggling. Although visual errors can occur, the speed of the beanbags will unlikely ever increase past the level that the human eye can perceive. However, concentration can improve my taking advantage of the human anatomy. Beanbags with high contrast colors should be more visible to the cones and increase the focus of the athlete. This can improve the athlete’s performance and arousal associated with the movement.
In all likelihood, some of the athletes have jogged around a track before. Variability of jogging will benefit the athlete more than variability of juggling. The constraints placed on the athlete by changing the speed and stride of running creates enough instability to enhance juggling skills to the level necessary to joggle. Some negative transfer can be expected from learning to jog while juggling. An athlete will have a natural inclination to begin jogging at a comfortable pace based on prior experiences that didn’t involve juggling. Therefore, error is of high likelihood unless constraints by the instructor are placed on the athlete and appropriate progression is introduced. Rather than demonstrating or presenting to the athlete, the athlete should be advised to find a comfortable pace firsthand. This pace is set by managing to juggle two bean bags simultaneously. Once the athlete feels they are capable, then they will visualize the third bean bag through active imagery. The athlete should ask themselves probing questions about the weight of the beanbag, the relative force used, and the relative timing of each beanbag being juggled to increase realistic visualization. This can prevent the negative impact that accompanies juggling with three bean bags from the beginning. If an athlete starts with three bean bags, while learning to incorporate jogging, they are likely to be overwhelmed and build a disempowering belief about their capability. Before incorporating the third bean bag, athletes are encouraged to ask questions they have and will review the fundamental cues to the successful maintenance of juggling.
The unstable conditions of joggling must become stable before manipulations to the conditions can occur. However, in order to increase learning, variability of exposure to unstable conditions can foster greater stability to multiple conditions in less time. First the athlete must master joggling under different constraints in a part-practice format, and then variability will be introduced as part of a whole-practice method. Changing the duration of jogging is the first fundamental variation that occurs once the athlete finds a comfortable pace which they are able to joggle. Optimizing the rhythm and the other conditions involved in juggling can create an equilibrium that is maintainable at a constant speed. All practice, once again, should be videotaped for feedback later. Once increased duration has been introduced and the athlete has a reasonable degree of proficiency then they can increase the speed of joggling. Increasing and decreasing speed momentarily manipulates the projection of the beanbags, and stimulates realistic conditions in a race. Finally, when the athlete has achieved a reasonable level of performance, more attentional demands can be placed on them. The last condition is simulating a real race by incorporating one or more athletes into the practice. Beforehand, all practice was on their own while joggling. Now they have the competitive aspect that encourages them to introduce the previous variable of speed and joggling competence so that they can compete and win. However, they will begin with other athletes under a shorter duration of time, and with a constant speed first. As they progress, the duration, and the speed can vary to become exceedingly more demanding. The constraints of winning a race are different than the constraints of maintaining joggling, and therefore a progression to competitive racing must be used despite proficiency in joggling alone. Once these different conditions have been mastered, further conditional demands such as the amount of competitors, speed of the race, and the race length can be used to increase variability.
Athletes will practice juggling, joggling, and jogging separately in preparation for a joggling event. This allows the athlete to work separately on each component without the constraints imposed by the other component. For example, joggling should utilize maximal jogging speed. However, at first, it’s possible that the need to juggle can supersede the ability to jog at full speed. Therefore, jogging should be practiced separately, as should juggling. Then the two skills can come together in practice. This works because the schema developed for each of the components, juggling and jogging, can begin to have a positive transfer into the act of joggling.
In summary, the use of appropriate progression through part-practice methods and augmented feedback using knowledge of results and knowledge of performance enhances the athlete’s understanding and learning. Understanding the constraints of the task points to the reasoning behind the results and performance being observed. When an athlete is aware of the possible reasoning behind the error, they are better able to understand their results and performance. Demonstrations and presentations recognize the preferred modality of each athlete while giving the athlete greater control over feedback as they increase their performance. Visual based feedback is an important part of the learning process, and demonstrations and presentations can teach through other modality types to support correcting errors. Reinforcing the relevant cues of juggling increases the implicit learning necessary to reduce the attentional demands of juggling. Variability is introduced once part-practice methods have been mastered and whole-practice methods of joggling are possible. This reduces the attentional demands and likelihood of being overwhelmed. Athletes move from part-practice methods to whole-practice methods, and once the athlete has mastered whole-practice of joggling they will use contextual interference training, primarily blocked practice. Blocked practice allows the athlete to correct errors consciously from one trial to the next before moving to another skill in the part-practice method. It combines the increased learning found in wide exposure to many tasks while giving enough exposure to each to learn from the previous attempts. This pattern is followed throughout the progression from learning to juggle to joggle until a high level of skill has been attained. Overall, these methods are the most flexible for the athlete and provide the greatest learning potential.
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