In any physical activity, be it martial arts, sports, or physical fitness, feedback from trainers is essential. Trainers follow different ways of providing feedback; however, the MATS feedback method is widely used by trainers all over the world.
MATS is an acronym for Motivating, Actionable, Timely, and Specific.
The MATS feedback method can be employed anytime; however, usually it is used while training with equipment. The training equipment has to be of the highest quality in order for the feedback to be accurate. Coaches and trainers rely on Pacific Sports high-quality training equipment like gloves, focus pads, focus mitts, paddles, and multipurpose pads that can be used for both punching and kicking.
The feedback should be aimed at encouraging and not at discouraging the student. By constantly pointing out only the weaknesses, a student generally becomes discouraged. Hence, the strengths also should be recognized, appreciated and ways to further enhance them should also be taught. While working on the improvement of the weaknesses, the student should also remain motivated to better the strengths. For example, the trainer may say, “Excellent front kick, but try to follow it with a combination of a side kick and a roundhouse kick.” Recognition of strengths and encouraging to improve the weaknesses also create a positive and a healthy training environment.
The feedback has to be practical and actionable. It should be such that the student can understand and perform it. Simply stating that the punch needs more power is not enough. The trainer has to offer guidelines that can be translated into action. For example, the trainer may say, “Rotate the hips while punching and exhale out sharply when the fist makes contact.” With such clear actionable feedback, the student can feel the improvement by making the changes.
The feedback has to be given immediately upon execution of some technique. Timely feedback enables the student to understand the changes required and can be done on the spot. For example, the trainer may say, “Move your left leg forward, step in and give a left-hand jab, then immediately move in the right leg while rotating the hips and throw a right-hand punch.” By giving timely feedback, the student can immediately execute them and learn by doing it right there, rather than listen to the feedback later on.
Giving specific feedback helps the student to understand what changes need to be made without any confusion. For example, “Your left leg is half as strong as the right leg. Kick the kicking shield for 1000 times with your left leg, and then for 500 times with your right leg. This will make both the legs equally strong.” Giving crystal clear guidelines leave no room for any doubt and the student’s improvement can take place.
The MATS feedback method is effective only if there is a healthy and a respectful relationship between the trainer and the student. Two-way communication between them should be established, so that all training issues can be resolved in a mutually respectful learning environment. The training equipment also plays a major role in providing accurate feedback. Pacific Sports training equipment are trusted and used by trainers, as they help the trainers to employ the MATS feedback method for training.
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