Lesson 3:
A Constraints-Led Approach
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Adopting a constraints-led perspective to basketball provides coaches with a framework for understanding how the performer, task and environmental constraints shape each individual’s performance. This type of approach is player–centred. Coaches can base learning design on the needs of individual players and the team as a whole.

Why is a constraints-led approach beneficial? Because there is no such thing as perfect technique. The unique interactions between players, environmental and task constraints means that each player will be required to solve distinctive performance problems in ways best suited to their own strengths and weaknesses.

A constraint led approach takes a holistic and individual approach to learning by considering the interactions between all those different constraints. A coach designs the environment and directs learning by manipulating the constraints, rather than using only prescriptive instructions and corrective feedback is challenging but rewarding for all. Remember a constraints-led approach is not the only approach you will use a coach, but rather a tool in the toolkit for a coach that can increase effectiveness and efficiency.

See how Alex Sarama uses a constraint led approach
to teach finishing.
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BONUS: Learning Constraints Led Finishing Moves
From Watching Jimmy Butler
Three categories of constraints are considered which discuss shaping technique and tactics with a constraints-led approach.

Performer Constraints: Include physical and mental factors such as height, limb length, strength, speed, technical skills, attentional control and intrinsic motivation. All of these factors can influence decision-making behaviours.

Environmental Constraints: Include physical and cultural environmental constraints. These are constraints outside the body itself and include any physical constraints outside the body, as well as sociocultural constraints.

Task Constraints: Include the goal of the task, rules of the game, equipment available and the relative state of the game.

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