The constraints-led approach (CLA) is a framework for teaching, coaching and practicing motor skills. It takes a holistic and individual approach to learning by considering the interactions between different ‘constraints’: the performer, the environment and the task. The CLA advocates a hands-off -approach, where the coach designs the environment and directs learning by manipulating the constraints, rather than using prescriptive instructions and corrective feedback. The learner is challenged to find his own functional movement solutions through variable practice and trial and error 1 2 3. The CLA is not a magic bullet for all learning situations, but according to preliminary evidence 4, it is an exceptionally well suited method for efficient motor skill practice.

  1. Davids, K. W., Button, C., & Bennett, S. J. (2008). Dynamics of skill acquisition: A constraints-led approach. Campaign, IL: Human Kinetics. []
  2. Chow, J. Y., Davids, K., Button, C., Rein, R., Hristovski, R., & Koh, M. (2009). Dynamics of multi-articular coordination in neurobiological systems. Nonlinear Dynamics Psychology and Life Sciences, 13(1), 27-52. []
  3. Gibson, J. J. (2014). The ecological approach to visual perception: classic edition. Psychology Press. p.213 []
  4. Gray, R. (2018). Comparing cueing and constraints interventions for increasing launch angle in baseball batting. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 7(3), 318-332. []