Allowing self-control over various modes of instructional support has been shown to facilitate motor learning. Most research has examined factors that directly altered task-relevant information on a trial-to-trial basis (e.g., feedback). Recent research suggests that self-control (SC) effects extend to the manipulation of other types of factors (e.g., total number of practice trials completed). This research also illustrated that learners sometimes select a very small amount of practice when given latitude to do so. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of SC practice within a fixed time period on the learning of a basketball set shot. SC participants chose when to attempt each shot within two 15-min practice sessions, thereby controlling both the total number of shots taken and the spacing of shots. Yoked participants completed the same number of shots as their SC counterparts. Spacing of shots was also matched across groups. The SC group was more accurate and had higher form scores and longer preshot times during retention. These findings provided additional support for the generalizability of SC effects and extended prior research, showing that autonomy over total practice duration was not a prerequisite for the observed effects.
Post is with the Dept. of Human, Performance, Dance, and Recreation, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. Fairbrother is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Barros is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton. Kulpa is with the Dept. of Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM.