Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Distance perception game

Photo courtesy of An untrained eye.
Get a better understanding of encounter distance - here's an interesting solo game you can play to work on this crucial skill.
As you are walking down the street (or hall, etc...) make note of a spot on the ground that is several feet away and guess how many steps it will take to reach it and which foot you'll step on it with. Then walk up to it and see if you are correct.  Try your best not to change the length or tempo of your stepping just to achieve your guess.  See if you can guess from 15-20 feet away which foot you will land on when you get to your target.
I bet that after a few practices, you can become uncannily accurate at predicting the number of steps and the landing foot.  After a couple of repetitions of this game, I can usually guess within about 1/2 of one step from as far as 20-30 feet.
But here's the really interesting part - the analysis of your results.  What sort of phenomenon are you really seeing happen here?
  • Is your perception of distance related to your stride length getting better?
  • Or are you subtly altering the size of your steps in order to make your prediction happen?
I think that some of both but more of the second  alternative is happening.  In any case, either of these skills (better distance perception or better gait control to achieve a goal) are good skills to develop.
Try it out and let me know how you do!

Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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