Strategies and Metastrategies in Learning and Performing Self-Paced Athletic Skills

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Florida
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This article explores techniques that individuals can use during learning and performance to influence thoughts, feelings, and subsequent achievement. Of concern is knowing how to learn—how to perform. Learning strategies can be isolated and task-specific, or combinatorial and more generally applied to related tasks. Researchers have primarily labored in the first area, frequently demonstrating the effectiveness of a particular learning strategy in improving the learning of a certain activity. In more recent years the second area, typically defined as metastrategies, is attracting the interest of scholars. Since the notion of metastrategies is vague, they are difficult to define and pose a challenge to investigate as to their influence in learning/performing situations. This article begins with a general discussion about information processing processes involved in attaining movement skill, and the use of strategies and metastrategies. A proposed global strategy, the Five-Step Strategy, is presented that should be useful in the learning/performing of all types of closed (self-paced) athletic acts. The strategies include readying, imaging, focusing, executing, and evaluating. The learning of task-pertinent strategies appears to be particularly influential in a number of ways, ultimately leading to a higher probability of learning efficiency and performance excellence.

Robert N. Singer is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, 302 Florida Gym, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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