Dr. Jo Shattuck's Story
I started late in racquetball, at 17. I did not come up through the junior’ s programs, so I didn’t receive the early coaching that other pros did; I did not have mature strokes, and I was physically petite. I couldn’t ‘muscle my way” for the power and control needed to compete on the pro tour. Over the years as I studied the game and learned from the best, I became a stroke technician expert.
As a coach, I spent countless hours in one-on-one training with my students in the technical biomechanical details of the racquetball strokes; I became fascinated with the malleability of motor learning performance. I marveled at how the wording of my instructions, or subtle changes to the task parameters could immediately and profoundly affect my student’s ability to perform that task. What I said and how I said it changed the way they moved; it undoubtedly changed the their neural processes first. I remember wishing for the ability to see inside my athlete’s brains, to see what was happening when I used this technique or that technique, or gave feedback with this word as opposed to that word. Watching the motor learning process unfold in front of me and seeing my student’s achievements was fascinating. My need to understand how external factors affected motor learning acquisition grew from my 23 years of trying to improve it.
During my last two years of professional competition, I earned a master’s degree in sport science and actively experimented with pedagogical interventions to improve biomechanics in motor skill acquisition. I created MuDCAT© (Multi-Discipline Circuit Aptitude Training), a training technique that combines the principles of motor learning stages, biofeedback, blocked and random practice, visualization and vision exercises. I coached at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in ten annual training camps where I applied these interventions. When I retired from competition in late 2010, I went on to work in the Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab during my doctoral studies, and earned a PhD in psychology, focusing on the brain-behavior relationship of motor learning.
The company PantherTec and the Kinesthetic Awareness Training system are products of my playing career, coaching career and education. PANTHER stands for Principles of Athletics And Neuroscience Toward Human ExpeRtise. The KAT system allows coaches to train their athletes to learn movement through the use of augmented sensory feedback delivered via wearable sensors.