Written By: David Genest
Well known and used in Europe, the Preferred Motor Skills Approach allows you to increase performance of high-level baseball and softball athletes by up to 12%! But why wait to be a high-level athlete to use this approach when it can help any players at any age?
What is this approach about? Let me start with a simple example.
Please put your hands together and interlock your fingers. Think about what you’ve done – was it easy? Quick? Did it require a great deal of focus? Did it feel natural? Comfortable?
Which thumb landed on the top of the other?
Ok, now separate your hands, join them back together, interlock your fingers but switch which thumb is on top of the other.
How did it feel moving into this new position? Did you have to think about how to put your fingers the way you want? Did it require more focus? Did it feel awkward?
On the first attempt, you completed a movement with what’s known as preferred motor skills. On the second attempt, movement required more effort with less comfortable results.
Congratulations! You just discovered the basics of the Preferred Motor Skills Approach! Now imagine that you want me to coach you for the Joined Hands Fingers Crossed Championships. What would be the best way for me to coach you in order to be quick, efficient and performant? Of course, with the Preferred Motor Skills Approach!
How can this help in baseball or softball? It’s easy to understand: Will players perform better if their coach and themselves can focus on the player’s preferred motors skills? The answer is yes, of course! If you don’t agree with me, just ask all of your right-handed players to throw as leftie and let me know if they perform better! (Lateralization is the most known preferred motors skills).
I can already see you in front of your screen asking me: “Coach, how does this approach work?” First, it’s a process dependent on physical tests. The athlete assumes different positions and his or her body resistance is tested. From the results of these tests, both a MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) profile and preferred motors skills can be determined.
There are sixteen different profiles. Each profile has eight oriented functions. Of course, our diversity prevents us from fitting neatly into these boxes, but it definitely helps in teaching us to know ourselves better.
As soon as you know your athlete’s profile, you can work with him or her on the fundamental adaptations related to his preferred motors skills.
Example: an ENTP profile will love wide movements and prefer supination moves. If you know that one of your pitchers has this profile, do you think it can help you to adjust his motion, work and pitches? This approach is a wonderful tool that can help coaches to have an individual answer for each of their players and understand that there is no global solution!
As a men’s baseball coach it can help you and your players to perform better when you know which of your players like supination, pronation, or which one can generate power from his lower or upper body, if he is unit or spiral, if he likes to have his upper appendages away or close to his body, and which part of his body initiates the best and strongest rotation into a swing.
The other valuable result of this approach is that you can help your player to become a better person. With a MBTI profile, a player can have the tools he needs to build his professional career and personal life. When a profile is established, it also helps prevent injuries because all physical weaknesses will be accounted for and can be anticipated.
Conclusion: I am quite sure that most baseball coaches have an idea of how each player uses his or body differently to perform. It is not always easy to understand the why of the how! With the Preferred Motors Skills Approach, I was able to back up my guesswork with facts and it totally changed my way of coaching.