Easy Task and Choice: Motivational Interventions Facilitate Motor Skill Learning in Children

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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  • 1 College of Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
  • | 2 Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College, Altoona, PA, USA
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Expectancies for success and autonomy support have been shown to facilitate motor learning and enhance motor performance. The purpose of the study was to examine whether we replicated (a) enhanced expectancies and autonomy support intervention enhanced motor skill learning in children, and (b) identified the underlying psychological mechanism. Sixty children kicked soccer balls with their dominant leg to a squared area target. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four groups: enhanced expectancies and autonomy support (EE/AS), enhanced expectancies (EE), autonomy support (AS), or control (CON) groups. Participants learning the skill were or were not provided enhanced expectation instructions by making the task success easier and provided an opportunity to choose one of the three colored balls during their practice. Two days later, they performed retention and transfer tests. Results indicated that the EE/AS group had the highest scores, with main effects of autonomy support being significant and enhanced expectancies being marginally significant for the retention test and significant for the transfer test. The EE/AS group had the highest self-efficacy and perceived choice scores. Therefore, having high expectancies for success and being autonomous were important ingredients for facilitating motor skill learning in children.

Iwatsuki (tui36@psu.edu) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4227-0151

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