The Influence of Functional Constraints on Sport-Skill Learning in a Senior Adult

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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A large volume of research has focused on the benefits of appropriate health-related fitness activities for older adults (Spirduso, 1994). Although lifetime participation in sports is a common alternative to fitness activities, few studies have examined the subjective, personal experience underlying initial sport-skill development. The purpose of this study was to illustrate how dynamical-systems theory is a useful lens through which to examine the evolution of golf skill in 1 senior adult participant. Qualitative data collected over 7 months focused on a personal diary, formal and informal interviews, videotape analyses, and observational field notes. The development of golf skill was bounded by a series of functional constraints, as well as limiting factors connected to the task and the environment. The results illustrate the theoretical proposition (NewelI. 1986) that skill learning arises from and is structured by a system of interacting constraints.

The author is with the Dept of Physical Education at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809.

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