Athletic Performance with Dual-Task Techniques: A Deep Dive

Athletes training using Dual-Task techniques for optimized performance.

Modern techniques for training basic athletic skills vary widely, with each sports club adopting its own philosophy. Discover the innovative world of Dual-Task training, a fusion of scientific insights from sport and psychological therapies.

Read more: Athletic Performance with Dual-Task Techniques: A Deep Dive

Traditional vs. Modern Training Techniques

Mastering ball control is a pivotal skill in many sports. Traditional training methodologies, like the ‘Coerver’ method, emphasize learning movements in isolation without resistance. Contrarily, the KNVB believes that “you learn by playing” – a philosophy rooted in street soccer where kids hone their skills under constant resistance. The objective? To internalize movements, making them second nature. Increasingly, science suggests that taxing the working memory during skill acquisition, a concept known as Dual-Task conditions, optimizes learning.

EMDR: Beyond Sports and into Psychology

In my role at Sportbrein and an orthopedagogical clinic, I often encounter children grappling with anxieties and depressions. Here, the Acceptance and Commitment theory plays a major role. However, we’ve recently explored EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Conceived in 1989 by psychologist Shapiro, EMDR therapy involves patients recalling traumatic memories while simultaneously moving their eyes. Numerous studies, including a meta-analysis by Lee & Cuijpers in 2013, indicate that this process reduces the memory’s intensity. It taxes the working memory so much that recalling the traumatic event in its entirety becomes difficult. Consequently, the memory becomes less vivid and distressing. Watch this video for a more detailed explanation.

EMDR’s Dual-Task Principle in Sports

But what’s the connection between EMDR and sports? EMDR employs a Dual-Task approach – recalling a memory and eye movement. Engaging the working memory diminishes the emotional charge of a memory. Numerous training techniques are grounded in Dual-Task principles. For instance, the Senseball, a ball attached to a string, challenges the working memory with arithmetic tasks while practicing. Another example is Life Kinetik, where engaging motor games constantly challenge the brain. Even ‘Chaos’ drills in sports embed Dual-Task principles. Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, frequently changes rules during drills, keeping players on their toes.

Hypothesis: EMDR Protocols in Sports Training

Given EMDR’s impact on the working memory, could EMDR-based ball skills training be beneficial? The premise is tantalizing: utilizing EMDR protocols might speed up the internalization of sports movements. This hypothesis, while untested, is intriguing. Several ‘Self-EMDR’ videos are available online. This video, for instance,

Could be used in training drills, where players practice skills while watching the video. It’s important to note that I’m neither an EMDR coach nor therapist. My aim is to bridge the gap between EMDR science and sports practice. I strongly believe that this concept can align with techniques like Senseball and Life Kinetik. Hence, introducing SEMDR (Sports Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

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