Workout of the Day



The topic of cueing, coaching, and correcting movement is something of an ongoing conversation in the coaching world. The conversation lies at the crossroads of art and science -- or really, the artful application of science. On the one hand, the field of movement, kinesiology, human performance, or whatever you would like to call it is a biological science. On the other hand, the human-to-human, incredibly individualized craft of coaching is one that relies heavily on factors that, as of yet, are largely unquantifiable or only loosely quantifiable, and therefore difficult to approach scientifically.

One of the more popular points of conversation around coaching is in regards to cueing -- it’s application, value, and potential misapplication. A cue, by nature, is personalized to the individual student and the coach. A cue differs from points of performance in that a cue is a piece of instruction applied to an individual athlete to correct a specific problem. It is a tool to achieve an outcome, not necessarily a statement of correct biomechanical position. Let me clear things up with an example. Let’s say that a new student -- a competitive runner -- joins our program. On a workout that includes 800m repeats, I observe that she tends to run with her toes turned out. This is a faulty motor pattern, and one which, over the countless duty cycles involved in running any considerable distance, will lead to a host of inefficiencies and potential injuries down the road. In an attempt to correct the student’s faulty positioning, I tell her that proper running form involves keep the toes straight forward and knees in-line with the toes. This is a point of performance. On her next run, though, I observe that despite her best efforts, she is still running with her toes turned out. I then tell her that on her next run, I would like her to try to run with her toes turned in -- pigeon-toed. This is a cue. I don’t actually want her to run with her toes turned in, as that would also be a movement fault, but this piece of instruction may be what’s necessary to get her to the desired position: toes forward. In this example, the student has likely spent years and completed hundreds of thousands of repetitions running with her toes turned out. The body has established this as “normal,” and therefore to deviate from that may take a cue that involves some degree of exaggeration.

This is generally an ongoing process, and above all, it is individualized. Two students with the same error on the same movement may receive two entirely different cues. The desired outcome -- a specific point of performance -- is the same, but given a variety of factors, the cueing may be different. Cueing can even involve instructing an athlete to exaggerate an error in an effort to feel the error, and therefore have a better understanding of the desired outcome. I may instruct an athlete to keep the bar as far away as possible from her legs and hips through the pull of a clean to give her a sensory understanding of how that affects the movement, and hopefully allow her to better understand and correct the bar to stay in closer proximity to the legs and hips during the clean. Cueing may be verbal, as in the above examples, visual, or even tactile.

Know that, as a student of movement, your coach is going to apply a myriad of cues, corrections, and points of performance to help you move better. Your unique errors, strengths, and weaknesses demand a unique set of tools and stimuli to correct and develop. So while your coach may cue you to press your toes into the ground when you squat, that doesn’t mean that everyone else should, too.

- PS


  • For time:

    • Pro agility shuttle (5-10-5 shuttle)


  • Every 6 mins for 24 mins:

    • 800m run