I recently saw a video a friend posted of her son learning to commando crawl. I immediately asked if I could use the video because I thought it was so great. Luckily she said yes and you can see the video in this post!
What I loved about it is that with almost every move forward, he almost topples to the side. He then has to bring his head and trunk back up to the middle for the next pull forward. But because he hasn’t refined his movement yet, he goes too far and topples to the other side. What’s great though is that every time this happens, his body is storing the information on how much effort he needed and it will begin to give him feedback to limit his movements so that he stays more in the center. You can see in the next video clip (only 5 days later) how much less he falls to the side and how much faster his movements have become. And then in the next one (only another 5 days later), he is a commando crawling master!
We have all experienced this. When we are learning a new skill, we are like the first video clip. Our movements are clumsy and unrefined. We use bigger, less efficient motions than what is required. But each time we practice we refine our skills a little more so that soon we are efficiently performing the new skill.
It is for reasons like this that it is important to give babies and all kids, opportunities to explore their movement. They are learning how their body works and creating new pathways that give them just the right feedback. If they are never given the opportunity to practice it takes them longer to develop skills. By overshooting over and over, they are learning from each movement to make the next one even better. This carries over to almost any new movement we are learning, whether we are a baby, a toddler, a teenager, and even possibly an adult!