Ben Cochrane: Sports Science- Task Four, Part 1:
My two skill-learning principals were Part Learning and Whole Learning. Part Learning definition: A skill that is broken to small parts and taught so that perfection is reached for each part of a movement. E.g. For freestyle focusing on the arm movement only until an improvement is made. Whole Learning Definition: A skill that is taught to its entirety. E.g. freestyle stroke being learnt as one movement. * I used these two skill-learning principals because I found that by combining both part and whole learning I was able to focus on the small movements and also the movement as a whole. Because I swim train 4 or 5 times a week, I was already at the autonomous stage for freestyle, backstroke, and breastroke so for these strokes I had very little to improve on. However I found that by breaking the movement down I was able to identify weaknesses in my technique and improve on them. An example of this is I focused on my breastroke kick. I found that by increasing the speed of my kick I would increase my stroke rate and also create greater forward thrust. By using part learning I was able to focus clearly on this. The aim of combining part and whole learning for the likes of the backstroke start was so I could work on small movements to perfect the whole skill so that when I used it in the time trial I would successfully perform a start that was both fast and efficient. By using whole learning I could ensure I was familiar with performing the movement and was able to work on things like force summation and being explosive. Also in terms of the medley involving many different movements, I could work on each movement individually and then combine it into a medley. * How and when I used these key learning principals: In the beginning of my training programme, I mostly focused on part learning to ensure that for each movement I was able to perform each part of it to a high level. Then as I improved to the autonomous stage for each movement I progressed to using the skill-learning principal of whole learning. I did this by practicing the medley so I could see how each of my movements worked in the medley and areas I felt strong in and areas that needed more improvement. I was also able to see how my body handled the stress of performing the medley so I could identify if I needed to improve fitness for any strokes. * Specific examples: Although it is not included in my session plans, the very first swim session we did after our time trial was a pure technique session where we went over the main key points for each stroke. By doing so we were able to break down the stroke. Another example was in the first actual session, I did 6 backstroke starts, and 6 turns for each stroke. The intention of this was to break down the movements I would require in the medley and get comfortable doing so. Then as I progressed, for example in session 3 I performed a medley timed. I did this to see how I was progressing and how I handled combining all of the strokes. The result was very pleasing. I deceased 9 seconds off my pre training time from 1.30 to 1.21. This result confirmed the training I was doing was working very well. * I found by alternating between part and whole learning worked very efficient. This is because I made each part of the movement autonomous so when I combined them using whole learning I could perform them at an autonomous level. The result of this was successful because during the time trial, I was able to combine every movement and perform it autonomously. This meant I could focus on going as hard as possible and I knew my technique and every movement would occur naturally and without thought. I then could apply all of my energy into swimming as fast as I could. * If I did this again, I believe that I would stick with this method of learning. I found it very effective and I would continually alternate between focusing on the minor parts to a movement and then...
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