What is Kinesthetic Awareness Training?
Many training aids come with pre-determined ideas and techniques as to the correct way to hit a baseball, throw a fastball, and shoot a free throw, BUT they all have one thing in common. They are designed to fit the masses by compressing all body types, shapes, styles and preferences into a one size fits all technique via numbers or images displayed on a screen. These aids may work well in the beginning to help an athlete achieve the core components of a movement, but each individual is different. So, we developed a movement training system that can be customized for each individual.
Kinesthetic Awareness refers to the awareness of the body’s position and movement in space and time. This sense is generated by receptors within joints and muscles that respond to the body’s motion. Kinesthetic Awareness Training refers to a method of training in which the brain improves the interpretation of sensory inputs from the body and environment to more accurately measure and control the body position and movement in space and time. The body’s sensory-motor system consists of a network of pathways that send information from the body (via mechanoreceptors) and the environment (via visual receptors) to the brain. The brain interprets and prioritizes those signals to create a ‘model’ of where the body is in space and time. During movement, the brain commands the muscles to move in a certain way based on this ‘model’. When the brain’s own model of the body is flawed, the movement itself becomes flawed.
Our Company founder Dr. Jo Shattuck, an experienced coach, educated neuroscientist and former professional athlete, invented the Kinesthetic Awareness Training (KAT) system. The KAT system was created from Dr. Shattuck’s personal experience as a top 10 world-ranking professional racquetball player and 23 years coaching in a highly technical sport. “My thought process was more about solving a problem than ‘starting’ a business. In my former career as a professional athlete and coach, I spent a lot of time teaching another human to move in a certain way, and I realized there had to be a better way to do it. Words, verbal cues and images or video did help the student understand what they were doing, and/or what they should be doing, but those tools didn’t help them actually MAKE or FEEL the change.”
There has been a significant amount of research conducted over the past few years exploring the most effective way to cue individuals. While learning styles vary and the same cue may not work for everyone, current research indicates that external cues, in which the individual’s attention is drawn to an object or mental image outside the body part in question is superior to internal cues that bring their attention directly to the body part in question, leading to improved performance in a variety of tasks in both trained and untrained athletes (Kershner et al., 2019; Widenhoefer et al., 2019).
External cues include the use of descriptive language, tactile cues, and visual cues and are more outcome based, focusing on the results of the movement rather than the movement itself. This can include things like cues to “feel the ground moving away from you” when performing a vertical jump, using a theraband around the knees to improve landing mechanics, or video to show the actual vs. desired movement. In comparison, internal cues focus on the athlete’s body movement or internal structure during the execution of movement patterns (Widenhoefer et al., 2019). This would include cues like “push your knees out” or ‘tighten your core.”
Unlike wearable sensors that function as portable motion capture systems to identify or measure movement impairments, the KAT is a tool for movement educators use with their athletes or patients improving faulty mechanics or altered timing/sequencing issues. The educator determines the movement to be learned and the sensors ‘capture’ the desire movement as the individual performs it. When the individual repeats the movement, the KAT provides external cuing in the form of immediate audible and/or vibratory feedback to let them the FEEL their adjustments toward the ‘desired movement’ in real-time. The KAT is the only wearable technology that provides custom corrective vibratory feedback in real-time for any movement, anywhere and time. Visit www.panthertec.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.