Can the Five-Step Strategy Enhance the Learning of Motor Skills in Older Adults?

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The Five-Step Strategy (FSS) consists of (a) readying oneself, (b) imaging the desired outcome, (c) focusing on the task at hand, (d) freeing the mind, and (e) evaluating the outcome afterward. This study examined its usefulness as an instructional aid for older adults. Because some (Molander & Backman, 1989) have found that older adults have more anxiety during competitive sport experiences, another purpose was to examine whether the FSS can reduce anxiety. One group used the FSS when learning a golf putt; a second learned the putt without using the FSS. Participants putted for three 1-hr sessions once a week. Performance and anxiety were assessed before the first and after the second and third sessions. Retention scores revealed that the FSS group learned the task better than the control group did, t(27) = 6.63, p < .001. These findings suggest that the FSS might help older adults learn motor skills.

The authors are with the Health and Human Performance Department at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN 37044.

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