What is the Constraints Led Approach?

Greg Revak

Greg Revak is a Certified Level 4 USA Hockey Coach. Greg coaches with the University of Akron and University School (Ohio). You can find him on Twitter @CoachRevak. or sign up for his Hockey IQ Newsletter.
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CLA is about designing good learning environments for athletes and using constraints to incentivize behaviour that's desirable for future performance.
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Constraints Led Approach (CLA) is a training/coaching framework. In plain English, this means CLA is a lens through which coaches can train athletes. You can use the constraints-led approach to enhance your coaching.

CLA is based on the idea that movement and performance are guided by boundaries called constraints. There are 3 main high-level constraints:

  • Performer – The player and their abilities
  • Environment – The space in which the activity is performed
  • Task – The game itself

Drilling Down

Performer

This is the athlete and their abilities. What their athletic capabilities are will constrain them to be able to perform tasks or limit their abilities. Individual constraints include:

  • Body Composition & Fitness – Strength, dimensions, flexibility, and aerobic capacity
  • Mental – Ability to concentrate, confidence, and ability to read opponents
  • Personality – Aggressive vs passive, emotional control, etc.

CLA is about designing good learning environments for athletes and using constraints to incentivize behaviour that's desirable for future performance . . .

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