When we rely on scientific data, we tend to look at the conclusions as fact. After all, most people simply peruse the abstracts and jump straight to the last one or two sentences that basically say what the heck the article was all about. Even if we browse the article, we often skip the methods and the results section which tells what they actually found and head straight towards the conclusion statement where the author’s give us a “what does this mean practically.”
Problems arise when we interpret the conclusion as exact fact. Instead, it is the data that should be factual and relevant if the experiment was done correctly, and the conclusion is left for human interpretation and error. I’m not saying that the author’s concluding remarks are false or useless, as they often provide great insight. My point is that even the best and brightest of us make mistakes in interpretation and that’s when we run into problems.
It’s not the science or the data that is the problem. It’s often us.
MOTIVATION IN ELITE AND HIGH SCHOOL RUNNERS
PURPOSE: To evaluate what motivates High School (HS) and Elite level distance runners using Self Determination Theory. It was hypothesized that HS and Elite runners motivation be different, levels of amotivation in Elites will be lower, and Elite runners will have lower levels of introjected regulation. METHODS: Thirty five runners were recruited (19 HS and 16 Elite) to take the Sports Motivation Scales survey. Motivation was broken down into 7 sub categories: Amotivation, Extrinsic Motivation (EM) external regulation, EM introjected regulation, EM identified regulation, Intrinsic Motivation (IM) to know, IM to accomplish, and IM stimulation. Results were analyzed using one and two tailed t-tests. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between Elite and HS runners motivation, although several approached significance. Levels of amotivation were not significantly different, although it approached significance (p=.07). Lastly, EM introjected was not significantly different, though it closely approached significance (p=.06). The one significant difference found was that Elites had lower amotivation than low level HS runners.
It might seem like I’m being overly dramatic with the title, but the following two concepts are critical for understanding running form, or even human movement in general. With the rise in popularity of running form and the increase in running form guru’s that accompanies that, I it was a good time to share what I feel is the most important lesson. Why? Because if you change mechanics and don’t know what you’re doing, you are begging for an injury. As always, I’m deeply in debt to the master when it comes to this topic, Tom Tellez. The two key lessons to learn are:
1. What happens Active versus Passive
2. The difference between Static movements and Dynamic movements.
What’s so important about these concepts? Well, quite frankly it’s what separates the knowledgeable from the quacks. It’s relatively easy to watch a lot of good people run and figure out in a general idea what good running form looks like. What’s harder is to figure out what the runners are actually doing to get to that point.