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Edward Hebert

result of decades of research, strong evidence supports the conclusion that the opportunity to observe a skilled or expert model enhances motor learning ( Ste-Marie et al., 2012 ). The benefit is greatest in the early stages of skill acquisition, and is enhanced when demonstrations are provided prior to

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Alexander T. Latinjak, Marc Masó and Nikos Comoutos

identical. In this study, we focused, on the functions of goal-directed self-talk, that is, the aims to which self-talk in used intuitively by athletes to facilitate skill acquisition and enhance performance. One major line of research on goal-directed self-talk has focused on the aims to which goal

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János Négyesi, Menno P. Veldman, Kelly M.M. Berghuis, Marie Javet, József Tihanyi and Tibor Hortobágyi

, 1999 ; Porter, Sakamoto, & Asanuma, 1990 ; Sawaki, Wu, Kaelin-Lang, & Cohen, 2006 ). In contrast, an increase in afferent input through mechanical vibration or electrical stimulation can potentiate motor skill acquisition and intermanual transfer ( Rothwell & Rosenkranz, 2005 ; Veldman, Maffiuletti

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Diane M. Ste-Marie

necessarily lead to motor skill acquisition benefits and considered the extant literature on the observation of applied motor tasks within the investigative technique of the 5Ws and 1H framework. That is, they framed their review around research questions associated with (1) why observation was being used (2

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Greg Reid, Douglas Collier and Michelle Cauchon

Visual, verbal, and physical prompting systems promote motor skill acquisition in learners who are autistic (Collier & Reid, 1987). The purpose of the present study was to contrast the effectiveness of two instructional models, one that emphasized visual prompting and one that stressed physical prompting. Both models were designed to teach autistic children a bowling skill that was subdivided into 19 task analytic steps. All four subjects received 120 trials under both instructional models in a counterbalanced fashion. It was hypothesized that physical prompting would be the most effective model, but only limited support was generated in this regard. The subjects did benefit from carefully designed instruction, however, thus replicating previous findings.

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David I. Anderson and Anthony M. Mayo

This paper examines the costs and benefits of early specialization in sport from a skill acquisition perspective. The focus is on whether early specialization in a single sport is the best way to facilitate the acquisition of skill in that sport. The paper is organized relative to the two major conceptual frameworks that have motivated much of the discussion about early specialization in sport: the theory of deliberate practice and the Developmental Model of Sport Participation. Our analysis reveals that while early specialization in sport is one way to reach elite status, it is not the only way. Considerable evidence shows that many elite athletes specialized in their sport late, following diversified experiences with other sports. These findings raise a number of exciting questions about the long-term development of skill in sport.

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B. Ann Boyce

This study investigated the effect of instructor-set performance goals on skill acquisition and retention of a selected shooting task. Utilizing a modified two-stage sampling technique, six classes (90 potential subjects) were assigned to one of two conditions: with instructor-set performance goals or without instructor-set performance goals. Subjects received a pretest trial, five skill acquisition trials, and a retention trial on a selected shooting task (kneeling). The results indicated that the performance-goal group was significantly more effective than the non-performance-goal group. There was a significant difference across trials. Further, there was a significant interaction effect, and when follow-up tests were applied the results indicated that the group who received the instructor-stated performance goals was significantly better than the non-performance-goal group during Trials 2-5 and the retention trials. The findings are related to how performance goals affect skill acquisition and retention.

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Greg Anson, Digby Elliott and Davids

Since the middle of the nineteenth century, movement scientists have been challenged to explain processes underlying the control, coordination, and acquisition of skill. Information processing and constraints-based approaches represent two distinct, often perceived as opposing, views of skill acquisition. The purpose of this article is to compare information processing and constraints-based approaches through the lens of Fitts’ three-stage model and Newell’s constraints-based model, respectively. In essence, both models can be identified, at least in spirit, with ideas about skill described by Bernstein (1967, 1996). Given that the product of “skill acquisition” is the same, although the explanation of the processes might differ, it is perhaps not surprising that similarities between the models appear greater than the differences. In continuing to meet the challenge to explain skill acquisition, neural-based models provide a glimpse of the cutting edge where behavior and biological mechanisms underpinning processes of control, coordination, and acquisition of skill might meet.

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Jacqueline M. Edwards, Digby Elliott and Timothy D. Lee

An experiment is reported that investigated the effects of contextual interference on motor skill acquisition, and transfer of training in Down’s syndrome adolescents. Twenty Down’s syndrome adolescents and 20 nonhandicapped mental age controls learned a coincident anticipation timing task using either a random or a blocked training schedule. For transfer to a novel but similar task, subjects from both populations evidenced beneficial effects due to random practice. These data are discussed in terms of recent developments for strategy enhancement in motor learning by mentally retarded individuals.

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Stefanos Perkos, Yannis Theodorakis and Stiliani Chroni

This study examined the effectiveness of instructional self-talk on acquiring and performing three basketball skills (dribbling, passing, and shooting). Sixty-two young, novice players were organized into two groups. The experimental group accompanied the practice of three specific drills with self-talk. The control group performed the same drills traditionally. Six assessment sessions were completed. Repeated measures MANOVAs showed that experimental group participants performed better than their control group counterparts when dribbling and passing. Experimental group participants and their coaches reported using self-talk more when passing and dribbling and less when shooting. In addition, experimental group participants achieved significantly better dribbling and passing scores (p < .05) between assessment sessions. These results support instructional self-talk as an effective tool for skill acquisition and performance enhancement of skills low in complexity.