Scott Gallagher posted a comment to a previous blog post. I'll paste that comment at the bottom.
What caught my eye in his comment is the conflict between repetition and quality. The conflict goes like this: If you do a ton of repetitions you may not concentrate on quality. If you concentrate on quality you may not hit enough repetitions.
I do a lot of talks about stroke recovery to clinicians. There is a small but vocal group of therapists who believe that if you don't focus on quality you may as well not practice. "Perfect practice means perfect recovery." I completely disagree. What if the survivor doesn't move perfectly? The answer by these clinicians is "I use hand over hand techniques to make sure that they do." Basically, they move the stroke survivor in the proper arc of movement. (BTW: the original quote was, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." - Vince Lombardi. Vince Lombardi was dealing with professional athletes. If he was coaching peewee football his quote would've been "We're not asking for perfection, we're asking you practice.")
There's several problems with stroke recovery put to this "If its not perfect, don't bother" philosophy. First of all, who's to say what "good" movement is after stroke? If somebody's trying to learn golf and they suck, nobody stands behind them and says, "You're doing it wrong." The more you practice golf, the better you'll get. Should you practice proper technique? Yes. But stroke survivors know proper technique. They've been doing these movements for all the years prior to their stroke. And even if they forgot they can model with the unaffected side.
Second, this philosophy suggests a therapist. "Don't move unless I'm there to help you move." Alternatively this can be expressed as, "The more you move the worse you'll get." But therapists can't be with the survivor all the time, and the survivor doesn't have enough money in their pocket to pay for endless therapy. There is some good news... "The more you move the worse you'll get." Hogwash. Moving a lot on your own leads to better movement as long as you make the movements challenging (always reaching beyond you present ability).
Third, when's the last time you saw a coach with their hands all over a player? When's the last time you saw a music teacher with their hands overlapping the hands of the trumpet player? Learning movement involves mistakes corrected.
Scott Gallagher puts it this way "...any time I tried to insert control or effectiveness into my program, whether it would be with walking or with the hand, it would drive the repetition numbers down and my recovery would stall." And I know that is taken out of context, but as it stands as a quote I agree with it.
Scott Gallagher: If complete recovery is the goal, one problem might be in the sheer numbers involved. I have no reason to think that my stroke was anything but whatever might be considered a normal stroke, but currently in measured distance I'm at 5,112 walking miles. I'm so close to recovered, I'd say 5,000 miles is what it took for me to fully walk normally again. I tried speed walking, but the problem I was having was that any time I tried to insert control or effectiveness into my program, whether it would be with walking or with the hand, it would drive the repetition numbers down and my recovery would stall. My strategy, then, became one of brute force: keep it simple and push those repetition numbers up. But even if I had effectively used speed walking, how effective could it be? Even if it took 3,000 miles off my total distance, that would still leave 2,000 miles left to cover. I only made it through by switching from an exercise-based program to a mind and motivation-strengthening program. For all but a very, very few the repetitions required for full stroke recovery may make it, although possible, simply unfeasible. Come to think of it, though, your post may have been intended for a less hardened recovery program. Thanks.
Thank you Scott!
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