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This study investigated the effect of three goal-setting conditions on skill acquisition and retention of a selected shooting task. Utilizing a two-stage random-sampling technique, nine classes (N=138 subjects) were assigned to one of three conditions: (a) assigned specific goals, (b) participant-set specific goals, and (c) generalized do-your-best goals. The pretest and five skill acquisition trials were analyzed in a 3×6 (Goal groups × Trials) MANOVA design with repeated measures on the last factor. The procedure for the retention trial resulted in a 3×1 (Goal groups × Trial) ANOVA design. Results indicated a significant groups-by-trials interaction. The follow-up analyses revealed that the two specific goal-setting groups (assigned and participant-set goals) were significantly superior to the do-your-best group during the second, fourth, fifth, and retention trials.
B.A. Boyce is with the Department of Human Services, Program Area of Health and Physical Education, at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2495.