The human body’s ability to process information and program muscles and limbs to move in particular ways is one important part of how skills are acquired.
For professional athletes, successfully acquiring skills is how they make a living; however, in a competitive market, practising a skill repeatedly to improve is not always enough. Learning skills has become a science in itself. Now, to reach the top of their game, athletes need to understand and consider the nature of skills, the physics of movement and the athletes’ own physical attributes and psychology.
The following chapters delve into the science of learning skills that will assist you to develop and reﬁne physical skills and maximise your sporting potential.
How does acquiring skills affect performance?
What effect can psychological factors have on performances? How do biomechanical factors inﬂuence performance? COMING UP
Psychology of performance
Applying biomechanics to sport
Focus area A—Learning physical skills
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Motor learning BEFORE YOU START
Have you ever stopped to consider the skills you need to succeed in your chosen activity or sport? Some are simple and seem to require little effort or thought to master; others are more complex and can take years of practice to perfect.
Individuals’ abilities to learn and reﬁne motor skills greatly affect their ability to perform physical activity. As your brain has ultimate control over your body’s movement, it is important to prepare your brain with as much information as possible so it can accurately direct your body to move.
The information-processing model • Assessing skill and performance 5