Learning to Move

Movement Efficiency, Consistency and Resilience

Seen as one of the three pillars of development and well-being, alongside cardio-respiratory fitness and nutritional quality, mechanical efficiency can be seen as the body’s ability to create and capitalise on movement potential. That is, the ability to make use of the reservoir of movement answers that are used to solve the movement puzzles that are encountered in everyday life such as: Sitting, standing, walking, bending, reaching, lifting, rotating, etc.

In another way it can be seen as the ability of the body to ‘read’ all aspects of the physical environment, anticipating movement needs or possibilities and responding appropriately to these, with efficiency, intelligence and imagination.

It can also be described as the neuro-muscular process that puts the body in the right position, at the right time, all the time so it can effectively produce, reduce and stabilise force. Consider this process always in a multi-joint, multi-plane and multi-directional setting. This is clearly illustrated when one looks at the fundamental sports skills of running, jumping, throwing, kicking, catching and striking.

While the young person learns to move by solving puzzles there is also the support of the parent, teacher or coach who should be knowledgeable enough to guide the student to the most efficient answer to the puzzle. This is teaching / coaching at its best when the experienced adult guides the student to the best possible technical model of the movement. To help the teacher / coach the body has an infinite number of solutions with which to answer the question and at the same time is governed by certain muscular-skeletal factors which form the basis of the technical model being sought. For example, certain joints are designed for certain actions just as certain muscles are designed for certain tasks. These naturally occurring phenomena form the basis of our technical destinations.

5-IN-5 . . . In A Nutshell:

It works like this:

Physical Educators teach students to perform movements which, in turn, serve as the constituent components of each five-minute “movement break.” These movements are selected and taught with the three pillars of good Physical Education in mind: Progression – Variety – Precision. Simple movements lead to movements of greater complexity; the movements integrate all muscles and joints of the body in all three planes of motion; and the teaching focus is-always-on improving quality before increasing quantity. Once students have mastered movements, they are asked to perform them in a daily (or multi-daily) five-minute break from academic study, using classroom technology resources to time the day’s program and display video-clips of each movement, continuing the process of reinforcing and refining good movement habits and skills.

Each 5-IN-5 movement-module is comprised of five individual movements. The first modules provide foundational movement principals, introduce essential terms and begin the dialogue between teacher and student, and between an individual student’s mind and body. Movements and modules are taught progressively, building one success atop its predecessor. Most importantly, each movement element used in 5-IN-5 includes simple instructions to “turn it down” (make it simpler and more readily accessible to any student not yet able to manage the listed movement); and “turn it up” (increase the challenge of the listed movement). The turn-down’s and turn-up’s allow students to find individually-appropriate levels of challenge for all movements.

That’s it, really.

5-IN-5 provides students with a healthful opportunity to move, to reinvigorate mind and body through a few vigorous movements and, then, resume the academic learning process from a physically enhanced and enriched place. But perhaps its most important and immediate goal is to re-discover and strengthen the link between physical movement and cognitive development in both students and their teachers.

How They Learn to Move

It is interesting to assess comments derived from the research associated with movement learning for example:

..the individual’s capacity to produce and control a wide range of movements bears a direct relationship to the scope of his or her problem solving capacity. Higgins, 1991

The point is that neither skill, nor strategy, nor movement can be imposed – they are derived and evolve as a function of experience by an active participant.

The learner discovers relationships between biomechanical, anatomical physiological, and environmental variables by the application of existing resources (movement vocabulary).

…cyclic process of discovery, mastery and re-application. Whitehead, 1967; Ellis, 1976

From this we can gather that one important means of developing movement efficiency is the solving of ‘movement puzzles’. Put another way ‘failure is an option’. The young person solving the ‘puzzle’ will recruit a series of tools to assist them and it is the process of solving the puzzle that leads to efficiency in the long term (consistency). In simple terms the following process is underway as the movement ‘problem’ is solved:

  • * Gain insight into the task
  • * Gain insight into the force problem to be solved
  • * Fit the force problem to the movement
  • * Progressively refine and gain control or mastery
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