EKF Coaching - Know Your Students
Understanding student's personal preferences
Why can some of us kick better than others? Why can some of us stretch whilst others cannot? Why are some students naturally fast, leaving the majority us feeling rather slow. Training can go some way, but we have to face facts, a lot of what we are is down to our Gene Pool.
The three Body Types (somatotypes — endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic) are basic classifications of animal body types according to the prominence of different basic tissues types, roughly: digestive, muscular, and nervous tissues. They form the core of a theory, developed in the 1940s by American psychologist William Sheldon.
He concluded that the physique of men can be divided into the contribution of three fundamental elements: the somatotypes. He named his somatotypes after the three germ layers of embryonic development: the endoderm, that develops into the digestive tract, the mesoderm, that is to become muscle, heart and blood vessels, and the ectoderm that is to form the nervous system. Sheldon’s “somatotypes” and their (presumed and supposed) associated psychological traits can be summarised as follows:
Ectomorphic body type (sometimes referred to as the "banana") is characterized by long arms and legs and a short upper body, high forehead, slightly narrow shoulders, and supposedly have a higher proportion of nervous tissue. They also have long and thin muscles. Ectomorphs usually have a very low fat storage; therefore they are usually referred to as slim.
Mesomorphic body type (sometimes referred to as "hourglass" for a female and "rectangle" for a male) is characterized by a high rate of muscle growth and a higher proportion of muscular tissue. They have large bones, solid torso combined with low fat levels. It is also noted that they have wide shoulders with a narrow waist. Famous
Endomorphic body type (sometimes referred as "apple" for those who put most muscle and fat on the top half of the torso, and "pear" for those who put most muscle and fat on the bottom half of the torso) is characterized by an increased amount of fat storage, due to having a larger number of fat cells than the average person, as well as higher proportion of digestive tissue. They have a wide waist and a large bone structure.
Can you change your body type?
This is a difficult question. Most body types are genetic traits - they are the way we were born, and genes don't change. However many other things do change with age - such as metabolism and hormonal activity. Many people often find that as they get older they can tend to get more "endomorphic" in nature. It gets harder to lose fat (particularly around the stomach or waist), and eating unhealthy foods seems to pack the weight on more easily than it did when younger.
As a general rule, metabolism slows down as we get older (the "middle age spread"). Unfortunately most of us slow down our activity levels too - which can in turn worsen our metabolism even more. This can be rectified by maintaining cardio and weight training right into old age.
There are three types of muscle:
Skeletal muscle or "voluntary muscle" is anchored by tendons to bone and is used to affect skeletal movement such as locomotion and in maintaining posture. Though this postural control is generally maintained as a subconscious reflex, the muscles responsible react to conscious control like non-postural muscles. An average adult male is made up of 40–50% of skeletal muscle and an average adult female is made up of 30–40% (as a percentage of body mass).
Smooth muscle or "involuntary muscle" is found within the walls of organs and structures such as the esophagus, stomach, intestines, bronchi, uterus, urethra, bladder, blood vessels, and even the skin (in which it controls erection of body hair). Unlike skeletal muscle, smooth muscle is not under conscious control.
Cardiac muscle is also an "involuntary muscle" but is more akin in structure to skeletal muscle, and is found only in the heart.
Cardiac and skeletal muscles are "striated" in that they contain sarcomeres and are packed into highly-regular arrangements of bundles; smooth muscle has neither. While skeletal muscles are arranged in regular, parallel bundles, cardiac muscle connects at branching, irregular angles (called intercalated discs). Striated muscle contracts and relaxes in short, intense bursts, whereas smooth muscle sustains longer or even near-permanent contractions.
Skeletal muscle is further divided into several subtypes:
- Type I, slow oxidative, slow twitch, or "red" muscle is dense with capillaries and is rich in mitochondria and myoglobin, giving the muscle tissue its characteristic red colour. It can carry more oxygen and sustain aerobic activity.
- Type II, fast twitch muscle, has three major kinds that are, in order of increasing contractile speed:
- Type IIa, which, like slow muscle, is aerobic, rich in mitochondria and capillaries and appears red.
- Type IIx (also known as type IId), which is less dense in mitochondria and myoglobin. This is the fastest muscle type in humans. It can contract more quickly and with a greater amount of force than oxidative muscle, but can sustain only short, anaerobic bursts of activity before muscle contraction becomes painful (often incorrectly attributed to a build-up of lactic acid).
- Type IIb, which is anaerobic, glycolytic, "white" muscle that is even less dense in mitochondria and myoglobin. In small animals like rodents this is the major fast muscle type, explaining the pale colour of their flesh.
The way we learn
One family of models emphasizes the sensory modalities of informing stimuli. The models in this family may use different terms to describe same or similar learning styles. These models often describe three basic learning styles:
- Auditory learning occurs through hearing the spoken word.
- Kinesthetic learning occurs through doing and interacting.
- Visual learning occurs through looking at images, mindmaps, demonstrations and body language.
Thus it is important for a Coach to give clear and concise explanations, as well as accurate demonstrations. Finally we need quality repetition and practice.
Reflex vs Reaction
A reflex action is involuntary and almost immediate movement in response to stimulus (otherwise called involuntary) . In most contexts, especially involving humans, a reflex action is mediated via the reflex arc (although this is not always true in other animals, or in more casual usage of the term 'reflex'.)
Reflexes may be trained, such as during repetition of motor actions during sport practice, or the linking of stimuli with autonomic reactions during classical conditioning.
For a reflex, reaction time or latency is the time from the onset of a stimulus until the organism responds. In humans, reaction time to visual stimuli is typically 150 to 300 milliseconds.