The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of preferred verbal praise and music reinforcement on improving the soccer kick performances of youths with profound mental retardation (PMR). Subjects (N = 15) were randomly assigned to three groups. Based on visual inspection and the split-middle technique, all three groups (i.e., control, verbal praise, and music reinforcer) improved performances in their kicking accuracy. Comparison of graphed mean data of the three groups, by visual inspection and the split-middle technique, showed that the verbal praise and music reinforcement groups had higher scores than the control group. Visual inspection of 2-week follow-up data revealed that both experimental groups maintained higher scores than the control group. In addition, all of the subjects had the ability to generalize this kicking skill into a physical recreation environment.
The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology, P.O. Box 23717, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX 76204.