Optimizing Movement Skill: OPTIMAL Theory Applications for Clinicians, Athletes, and Performers

Los Angeles, California
Saturday, April 07, 2018

Optimizing Movement Skill: OPTIMAL Theory Applications for Clinicians, Athletes, and Performers
Saturday, April 07, 2018 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Pacific Time)

USC Health Sciences Campus
1540 Alcazar Street, CHP Building
Los Angeles, California 90033
United States

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Course Description: 

Are you involved in improving the way patients or clients move? Helping them acquire new motor skills? Refining their performance? Have you wondered what the most effective way is to accomplish those goals? Then this course is for you.

Movement skill is critical and highly valued in many walks of life and human endeavors. Therapists, instructors, coaches, patients, parents, managers, and performers are among those who understand the need for effective and efficient skill development. Recently, Gaby Wulf and Rebecca Lewthwaite (2016) published the Optimizing Performance Through Intrinsic Motivation and Attention for Learning (OPTIMAL) Theory. The OPTIMAL theory centers on the conditions of practice that facilitate efficient motor performance and learning.

Key theory factors in skill development include (a) enhanced expectations for future performance, (b) support for learners’ autonomy, and (c) an external focus of attention. Pairing motor practice with conditions that boost confidence and outcome expectations, support performers’ autonomy, and focus their attention on external, environmental, movement effects facilitates learning. These conditions align thoughts, motivation, attention, and neural and neuromuscular systems to the performer’s goals. In this continuing education course, theory authors and distinguished scientists and clinical professionals discuss key findings, theory tenets, and implications and applications for establishing optimal motor learning conditions for rehabilitation and movement performance in general. We present video illustrations and explore and practice with the audience strategies and techniques for optimizing performance and learning.

Course Objectives: By the end of this course, participants will be able to: 

  1. Summarize the roles of enhanced expectancies, autonomy support, and an external focus of attention in optimizing motor performance and learning.
  2. Identify and construct for themselves several optimizing approaches best suited for application in their own clinical, educational, or research practice.

Registration Fees:
Individual: $250
USC Alumni/Clinical Instructor: $200

  • Rehabilitation clinicians (PT, OT, ATC)
  • Movement scientists
  • Coaches 
  • Science-savvy athletes and musicians

Level of instruction: Intermediate to Advanced


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