Recipes for Motor Learning – No substitutes!

If you truly “CARE” about motor learning, you will follow this recipe for your patients: Constraints, Affordances, Rewards, and Expectations! Constraints challenge the brain and body with overloading principles of distractions, weights, speed/timing, pressure, difficulty (more defenders/players on the field), etc. Affordances are the solutions created and potentially stored by the learner. Opportunities perceived, if you will. Rewards are the tangible or intangibles that the learner receives, sometimes not knowing what the rewards will be or even if there will be a reward. These can come in the form of feedback (praise), monetary, food (animal studies usually), a promotion, a stronger friendship, admiration, etc. Expectations include the hope that the learner brings to the task, ideally matching the chance of succeeding or not, to their personality. Recall that it is not necessary to have a binary outcome, though, with motor learning, to succeed or fail. Often, in true life trials, and many times in sport, we can miss once and still have another opportunity. So it is not succeed or fail. It can be succeed, or wait, or second attempt, or try again later, or fail. Think about a goal scored in soccer off of your own rebounded/missed kick – it still counts as a goal. When a driver hesitates in an attempt to pass another car traveling in the same direction, slows back down and gets behind them again – it is not a failure – if they successfully pass them again on the next straightaway. CARE = Constraints Affordances Rewards and Expectations.