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This study investigated the effect of goal proximity on skill acquisition and retention of a selected shooting task. Twelve classes (n=181) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) short-term goals, (b) a long-term goal, (c) short-term plus long-term goals, and (d) do-your-best goals. The pretest and six skill acquisition/retention trials were analyzed in a 4×2×6 (Goal Groups × Gender × Trials) MANCOVA design with repeated measures on the last factor and with the pretest as the covariate. Results of a multivariate F test revealed significant main effects for goal groups, gender, and trials. Post hoc tests indicated that the three specific goal-setting groups were superior to the do-your-best group. Males were statistically superior to females in the shooting task. The follow-up tests on trials revealed that as trials progressed, shooting performance improved significantly.
B.A. Boyce is with the Program Area of Health and Physical Education, Curry School of Education, at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.