I just wanted to share this article that I read today on internal vs. external cueing and share some of my thoughts. In it, Matt Kuzdub, a high-level tennis athlete, discusses what the research has shown on cueing and why he thinks that it is not all that.
Hint: I agree!
I like to think of external cueing as playing the short game and internal cueing as playing the long game.
We need both. If you want to see what all short game looks like, that’s the current political process in the US. Not the best model for high performance.
And all long game? Well, that’s academia. Where something might be happening. But it is not totally clear. I mean, if you have tenure, there’s no rush.
According to Matt, “I believe there’s a constant tug and pull, a back and forth, a mix and match type scenario that should occur. Sometimes, we need to focus on the positioning and/or execution of a particular body part. Other times, we should focus more on an external factor like the flight of the ball or a target. But this will all depend on the athlete, their preferences, their skill level, the time of year, the complexity of the task, the sport in question, and probably a host of other factors I haven’t yet considered.”
The problem I see in circus is an over-reliance not on internal cueing, but on non-specific internal cueing.
What does that mean?
As I say in the post, instead of just saying, “I need you to lift your hips,” you should instead give specific details about HOW to achieve that, e.g., “by pulling the bottom of your ribs forward and your right shoulder blade back.” You don’t need to give 50 cues at once but you do need to be specific about a strategy for achieving a technical outcome.
And if you’re not a coach?
Get comfortable asking for the feedback you need.
If you’re not getting the feedback you need, ask your coach for it. Unsure how, try: “What remains stable and what moves?” That will help them focus on the specificity you just might need to move forward.