Pairing stimuli (putting two things, tasks, behaviors, etc.) together is how we learn to enjoy things beyond the basic human necessities. One of the reasons that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been such a successful approach (both educational the therapeutic) with the autism population is the targeted use of pairing novel (new) or non-preferred stimuli with known (as in, this has been proven with this particular individual) reinforcers. As I seldom have the luxury of my athletes immediately enjoying fitness activities, there HAS to be some type of motivation for them to complete the activity. Access to a “break” in which they have x amount of time (usually 2-3 minutes) to do whatever they like (within reason, and it usually involves wandering around the area).

In this video clip from a workshop I conducted (without a damn baton) last year, reinforcement (break from the activity) follows completion of the Sandbell push throw.

SEDOL Clip Reinforcement Edited June 3 2013 from Eric Chessen on Vimeo.

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