Motor Learning and Skill Acquisition Divisions of Motor Activity Motor activity can be divided into two divisions: Automatic motor activity Controlled motor activity Automatic motor activity involved very little thought Results in movement that appears to be an unconscious reflex action i.e. Batter ducking out of the way before a rogue pitch hits them Controlled Motor Activity Needs more thought and time to perform Example: a soccer player weaving in and out of opponents during a game Processing more information as he/she is moving Where are the opponents? Where are my teammates? How far am I from the goal? Principle of Individual Differences Just as people have difference anatomical and physiological makeups they also vary in terms of how quickly and easily they learn a new motor skill Dependent on many things Natural ability Willingness to try new things Coordination Stages-of-Learning Model Developed by two American researcher: Paul Fitts and Michael Posner In seeking to explain how people acquire new skills, Fitts and Posner came up with a threestage description People go through stages gradually Cognitive Associative Autonomous Cognitive Stage People must come to some basic understanding of the task Learners often commit large errors in performing the new task Learner may be aware of their errors but need specific instruction on how to improve i.e. A child learning to play soccer will first need to understand the fundamentals – no hands (except goalie), scoring a goal, moving with the ball, basic rules etc. Associative Stage Learners begin to refine the skill they have been trying to master during the cognitive stage Learners go beyond the basic mechanics of the skill and develop some awareness of the mistakes they were making This leads to fewer and less pronounced errors i.e. The soccer player may not be able to kick a ball “on target” but will develop an awareness as to why Autonomous Stage Skill becomes almost “automatic” Learner will not spend as much time actually thinking about the basic fundamentals of their activity Able to “just do” the activity while concentrating on certain specialized and highly refined aspects of the skill i.e. Soccer player can attempt to “curve” or “bend” a shot towards the goal Factors Affecting Skill Development Factors such as fatigue, nervousness, weather, and distractions can lead to information being misprocessed by the athlete and therefore cause errors British track and field coach Brian Mackenzie has identified 7 reasons for faults and errors: Incorrect understanding of the movement, poor physical abilities, poor coordination of movement, incorrect application of power, lack of concentration, inappropriate equipment, external factors (i.e. weather) Teaching and Learning a Skill Singer's five-step process – developed by University of Florida psychologist Robert Singer This method utilized 5 basic building blocks in the teaching and learning of a skill 5 steps are: Readying Imaging Focusing Executing Evaluating Readying Also known as the preparatory stage Work to attain the ideal mental and emotional state for learning a skill May involve making sure the learner has the correct equipment, feels ready to begin a practice session, and has completed a proper warm-up Imaging and Focusing Imaging The learner must develop a “picture” in his or her mind of the correct execution of the skill components Teacher or coach can assist by demonstrating the skill Focusing Teaching the learner to block out all internal and external distractions Executing and Evaluating Executing Learner actually attempts the desired skill after completing the three preparatory skills Evaluating Learner and coach attempt to assess which aspects of the skill were performed successfully and which need improvement Feedback The information a learner obtains regarding how they are progressing in learning to perform a skill Can assist in improvement Two kinds of feedback 1. KR feedback – knowledge of the results of an action 2. KP feedback – knowledge gained by performance Transferability The fact that skills, when learned in the context of improving performance in one sport, can often be applied, or transferred, to a different sport i.e. Someone learning a skill that emphasizes hand-eye coordination – a volleyball serve, will be able to transfer this skill to a slapshot in hockey or a lay-up in basketball Closed Skill vs. Open Skill Open skill: performed in an unpredictable environment that requires participants to adapt their movements to the changing nature of that environment (soccer) Closed skill: performed in a predictable environment and permits participants to plan their movements in advance (archery) Skills Observation NCCP: National Coaching Certification Program Identified two distinct stages of skill observation 1. Identify the purpose of the skill – why must the task be performed? i.e. A jumpshot in basketball is used to score points. 2. Break the skill into phases NCCP has identified 5 phases of a skill 1. Preliminary Movements Movements needed to get ready for a skill Includes necessary footwork Balancing Body positioning etc. Back-Swing or Recovery Movements Movements that take place just before the force-producting movements Back-swing in golf Arm recovery movement in a repetitive activity like swimming Force-Producing Movements Movements executed to produce force for impact or propulsion Forward swing of the leg and foot in a soccer kick Critical Instant The point that determines how effective the execution of a skill is going to be Nothing can be done at the critical instant to alter its effectiveness i.e. Final foot-plant of a long jumper after sprinting down the runway The Follow-Through Movements that take place after the critical instant In many skills it is crucial to the skill being completed successfully Slow body parts down therefore prevent injuries i.e. Spike in volleyball, jumpshot, etc. For Tomorrow In groups of 4 or 5 pick a skill that you will teach the class Keep in mind Breakdown of the skill 5 phases Feedback We will be in the small gym/weight room tomorrow. Bring gym clothes!