Motor Learning: Block vs Random Practice

Why your wall ball routine is probably trash.

Video originally shared by Southlake Carroll head coach Bart Sullivan.

Follow up reading:

Blocked Practice vs. Random Practice: Shake Things Up in your Training and in your Life by Dr. Allison Belger

Blocked practice is when a learner performs a single skill over and over, with repetition being the key.  Variance in training is minimized or nonexistent.  The learner then moves on to practice another discrete skill in the same way.  By contrast, in random practice, motor learners work on a number of different skills in combination with each other, randomly working trials and patterns of one and then the next and the next, with each trial interleaved on the previous one.  The random element means the learner is forced to be on his or her toes, not falling into a repetitive routine.  Blocked practice is marked by low levels of what is called cognitive interference, while random practice is marked by high levels of cognitive interference.  In simple terms, this means that random practice setups challenge the learner’s cognitive and motor systems to deal with the interference of each task on the next—an element that keeps him/her on his/her toes and allows for greater retention and skill transfer.

If you’ve read the entire passage or watched the entire YouTube clip, you’ll have an idea as to why a basic wall routine of 50 right and 50 left isn’t ideal.

About the author, 412

10 years of Lax Blogging

If I had known I was going to move so much, I wouldn't have called it 412

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