Learning Environment, Nature of the Skill, Practice Methods, and Feedback

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Question 4
The Learning Environment

Physical Environment
All factors external to the performer. While learning new skills the physical environment should be constant allowing the learner to concentrate on the skill at hand.

Training in conditions similar to the game or using equipment worn in the game will aid familiarity with the performance situation and minimise the effect of external factors that are outside the performer’s control.

Nature of the Skill

Movement tasks may be classified according to different criteria: The stability of the environment (Open or Closed)
The precision of the movement (Gross or fine)
How distinctive the beginning and end points of the skill are – continual, serial or discrete. The timing- externally paced or self paced

Open Skills
This is a skill that occurs in an unstable unpredictable environment. Eg’s of open skills include Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, and Basketball.

Closed Skills
This is a skill that is learnt in a stable, predictable environment. Eg’s of closed skills are gold, archery, weight lifting and synchronised swimming.

Gross Skills
Requires the use of large muscle groups for execution

Fine Skills
Require the use of small muscle groups to perform the movement.

Discrete Skills
Has a distinctive beginning and end that can be identified

Serial Skills
Involves a sequence of smaller movements that are assembled to make a total skill

Continuous Skills
Has no distinct beginning or end

Self-paced Skills
It is the athlete that determines the pace of the skill execution (self paced)

Externally paced Skills
The timing of the skill is not determined by the player

Practice Methods
As well as the physical environment the way individual practices a new skill will affect how quickly they learn it.

Massed vs. Distributed Practice

Mass Practice
Requires performers to take infrequent breaks between long periods of instruction and skill development routines. Example of a runner who is running continuously without any long breaks. Works best when athletes are:

highly motivated
Unable to attend a number of sessions

Distributed Practice
Involves a broken practice session with intervals or rest on other activities in between practice intervals. E.g. Doing some running training, and then doing some bike training. Works best when:
Performer lacks interest
Task is difficult
Motivation is low
Task causes fatigue

Whole vs. Part Practice

Whole Practice
Involves the teaching or demonstrating of the entire skill as a whole. Some skills are best learnt doing it all together.

Part Practice
Involves the skill being broken down into smaller skills and learning them individually before putting them all together. Some skills are too complex to learn all at once

Refers to receiving information on how the skill was performed Occurs at every stage of the process
May occur subconsciously or very consciously
Effectiveness of feedback dependent on the time available for feedback. Too much feedback can have a negative effect
Performers may develop a dependence on the feedback
When feedback is withdrawn performance declines

Feedback has three functions:
Reinforce what is done well
Provide a basis for correcting aspects that need improvement Motivate for continued effort and improvement

Sources of Feedback

Internal feedback
Refers to when a person receives it form the sense inside the body

Movement is felt then sent to brain then adjustments are made to performance E.g. A handstand, body sends message back to the brain regarding necessary modifications

External feedback

Is what you see and hear that is outside the body’s own senses. E.g. Coach telling you stuff, getting assessment task back above 80%, hitting a ball and listening for the sound.

Types of Feedback

Knowledge of results (KR)

Provided externally after the completion of the action
The information about the outcome of the movement...
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