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Barbell Logic

Jun 28, 2022

Matt & Niki explore tactile cues: different types, how & when to use them for in-person and online coaching.

Oh, and how do you pronounce tactile? Is it like "tactical?"

Tactile Cues vs Verbal & Visual Cues

Tactile cues, as you may have guessed, involve you as the coach or an object touching the lifter.

Visual cues show the lifter how to properly lift. Visual cues explain (hopefully clearly) how the client should move. Tactile cues use the sensation of touch to deliver information to the lifter.
You as the coach may physically move the lifter into the correct position. This avoids the lifter having to understand your verbal or visual directions, and allows the lifter to feel proper form. An example is bringing the lifters elbows up & forward in the press set up.
Similarly, you may pace your hand or finger on a body part you want the client to focus in on. For example, you may touch the lifters low back to get the lifter to extend her lumbar spine.
Lastly, you may have an object impose a physical indicator that limits the range of motion. Examples of this include using a foam roller or 4x4 (often called terribly useful block of wood (TUBOW) to prevent knee slide in the squat or setting up a band so the lifter knows proper depth in the squat.
Some carryover exists between verbal and tactile cues. You may give your lifter a verbal cue for her to feel a physical sensation. "Pressure on midfoot" is a great example where you're trying to create tactile feedback for the lifter through a verbal cue.

Tactile Cue Challenges

You need to build trust with your lifter, so ask if it's okay to touch the lifter to correct their technique, and touch them professionally. There are some situations where you may simply want to avoid touching lifters. Matt, for example, used to coach junior high females.

What physical cues can you use in online coaching?

Adjusting the lifter into correct technique is impossible. You may recommend the lifter gets an in-person session with a coach if you trust.

There are ways, however, to bring attention to a body part or impose a physical limitation.

The lifter or person close to the lifter may touch the lifter to bring attention to a body part. You don't have to be a coach to touch someone's low back or mid-sternum.

Setting up a band or TUBOW, as well, can be done with online coaching.

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