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Identify how the nature of the skill influences an individuals

By Bruce Gomez,2014-11-26 13:16
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Identify how the nature of the skill influences an individuals

    Chapter 8: How does the acquisition of skill affect performance?

    Exam-style Questions page 169

    1 Identify how the nature of the skill influences an individual’s ability to learn a movement skill. (3 marks)

    The nature of a skill is determined by whether the skill is closed or open; fine or gross; and discrete, serial or continuous.

    Closed skills occur in a stable and predictable environment and mean that there is little variation between attempts at the skill, such as hitting a golf ball or weightlifting. Open skills are those that occur in a changing and unpredictable environment, such as hitting a pitch in softball. An open skill will generally take longer to learn than will a closed skill.

    Fine motor skills require the use of small muscle groups and produce precise movement, such as spinning a ball or throwing darts. Gross motor skills, such walking and running, involve the use of large muscle groups and can be performed proficiently by an individual earlier than fine motor skills. Discrete skills have a clear beginning and end, such as throwing a ball, while continuous skills involve the same movement being repeated during the activity, such as swimming. Continuous activities generally build an individual’s existing skills and can therefore be improved at a faster rate than discrete skills.

    Serial skills involve the sequencing of a number of discrete skills into one movement, such as bowling a cricket ball. These skills can be difficult to learn and perform consistently.

    2 Outline the role of feedback in skill acquisition. (4 marks)

    Feedback is the information an individual receives about a movement or performance. It can come from internal sources within the athlete or from external sources, such as the coach or audience. The timing of the feedback is also important in assisting an individual to learn a motor skill.

    Internal feedback is the information received from the body’s senses (such as sight, touch and sound) during the performance. When an individual hits a ball with a bat he or she feels the contact made through the handle, hears the noise produced and sees the ball travel away after being hit. These feelings are remembered by the body and can be used to compare future attempts at the same skill to ascertain whether or not improvement is being made.

    External feedback is information gained from sources other than the body’s senses and can include video of the performance, the coach’s comments and the distance or score received. When receiving external feedback the individual will blend the information received with his or her internal feedback to gain a better understanding of what is required to perform the skill better.

    Knowledge of results (KR) and knowledge of performance (KP) are important forms of feedback for an individual. KR is particularly helpful when leaning a skill as it provides information on the outcome of the skill and reinforces the individual when he or she partially or totally performs a skill correctly. KP provides information about the way the skill was performed and does not focus on the outcome of the skill. A golfer may hit the ball onto the green and receive positive KR, but the ball may not have travelled through the air as expected and, therefore, the individual may experience poor KP and so change the way he or she hits the ball next time.

    PDHPE Application and Inquiry HSC Course ISBN 978 0 19 556610 9 ? Oxford University Press Australia

    The timing of feedback plays an important role in skill acquisition. Concurrent feedback occurs as the activity is being undertaken, such as the feel of a ball hitting a bat or seeing how an opponent is moving. This allows an individual to adjust his or her movement while it is being performed, though in the early stages of learning this may lead to distractions. Delayed feedback occurs after a skill has been performed, such as after a ball has been headed in a game of soccer. It provides information to a learner about how well a performance was done and can lead to improved performance in future attempts.

    3 Describe how the characteristics of a learner can influence that individual’s progression through the stages of skill acquisition. (5 marks)

    Each person is different and brings different characteristics and experiences when he or she engages in skill learning situations. These individual characteristics can influence an individual’s progression through each stage of learning.

    Personality traits are the traits an individual displays, such as keenness, competiveness, self-esteem and relationships with others. These traits can assist or hinder somebody as they move through the stages of learning. For example, an individual who is keen to learn a skill will be able to move through the cognitive stage and associative stage of skill acquisition faster as a result of being more motivated to continue to practise despite the errors he or she makes. An individual who can relate well to others will be able to accept and utilise feedback he or she is given and this will also assist the person in moving through the stages of skill acquisition faster.

    Confidence is a particular personality trait and can assist an individual to move through the stages of skill acquisition. A person who has the confidence to try a new skill, make mistakes and then try again

    knowing that eventually he or she will learn the skillis able to progress faster than somebody who lacks

    confidence. An individual who is dumped a few times while learning how to surf is likely to stop trying if he or she lacks confidence and this will slow the individual’s movement through the stages. A confident person, on the other hand, will continue to try the skill and learn it faster.

    Hereditary factors (such as gender, age and body shape) will also affect the ability of an individual to learn a motor skill. For example, a person with a taller and longer body will find it more difficult to perform some skills in gymnastics, such as tucking and spinning, than somebody who is shorter and will tend to move through the stages of skill acquisition slower. Elite high jumpers tend to be tall and lean; shorter people may be limited in the overall success they achieve in the activity.

    Prior experience in similar tasks will assist an individual to move through the cognitive and practice stages of skill acquisition faster than somebody who is experiencing this type of skill for the first time. For example, an individual who has played cricket would most likely be able to develop the skills required for baseball faster than somebody who is experiencing this type of sport for the first time. The person with experience hitting a ball with a bat will be able to transfer the handeye coordination and hitting motion to

    baseball even though the skills are not exactly the same.

    Ability is the combination of many of the factors discussed above. A naturally gifted athlete has good handeye co-ordination, is a fast runner due to his or her muscle fibre composition and is confident to try new skills. Often these athletes have had a range of experiences when they were young and have a genetic make-up that assists them to learn new skills quickly. This allows them to move through the stages of skill acquisition faster than somebody who does not display the same natural ability. 4a Outline the nature of skills and performance elements. (4 marks)

    The nature of a skill is determined by whether the skill is open or closed; gross or fine; and continuous, discrete or serial.

    Open skills occur in a changing and unpredictable environment with no two attempts exactly the same, such as receiving a serve in tennis where direction, height and speed can all change. Closed skills are stable and predictable, such as firing an arrow in archery.

    PDHPE Application and Inquiry HSC Course ISBN 978 0 19 556610 9 ? Oxford University Press Australia

    Gross motor skills involve the use of large muscle groups, such as running or swimming. Fine motor skills use small muscle groups and try to produce more refined movements, such as writing or putting spin onto a ball.

    Continuous skills are those activities that involve the same movement being repeated, such as walking. Discrete skills have a distinct beginning and end, such as when kicking a ball. Serial skills are those that involve a series of movements occurring for the skill to take place, such as throwing a javelin where the run-up, cross-over steps and throw all need to be coordinated.

    The performance elements are the application of movement skills into a game situation and not solely the performance of the skill itself. Decision-making skills and strategic and tactical development are required for good skill performance in a game.

    Decision-making skills allow an athlete to assess his or her own strengths and weaknesses and those of an opponent so that the athlete can decide how to play against the opponent. For example, if an opponent in tennis has a weak backhand the athlete needs to target this side of the court to improve his or her results against the opponent.

    Strategic and tactical development allows players to know where they should defend against an opponent or which shots to play in a squash game. These skills can be taught but they have to be practised in a game-like setting if they are to be learnt and applied in an actual game situation. 4b Analyse how these would be applied to the stages of skill acquisition. (6 marks)

    When learning a motor skill the learning environment needs to be considered prior to designing learning activities for an individual. The nature of the skill (open or closed; gross or fine; and continuous, discrete or serial) and the way the skill is performed in a game setting (the performance elements) need to be considered in relation to the stage of skill acquisition the individual is in. Individuals in the cognitive and associative stages of learning require different practice settings than those in the autonomous stage of skill acquisition.

    It is easier for somebody in the cognitive and associative stages of learning to learn closed skills than open ones. In the early stages of skill learning, performing the skill in a stable and predictable way assists in the development of movement patterns. As the skill is learnt the movement can be made more open so that it becomes more game like. For example, if an individual is learning how to play a drive in cricket the coach may begin by placing the ball on a tee and have the individual perform the skill to the unmoving ball. This allows somebody in the cognitive stage to perform the movement without any variations in the height, speed or direction of the ball. As the person develops the movement pattern the coach may throw the ball underarm to the batter. This introduces some variation to the skill but these variations are controlled. Once through this stage the skill can be made completely open and the batter can face a bowler where the speed, direction and height all vary with each delivery, just as the batter will face in a game. By undertaking skill learning in this way the individual will develop the confidence to perform the movement of the skill before having to perform it in a game and will improve the way the skill is performed.

    Fine motor skills are more difficult to master than gross motor skills. In the early stages of learning the focus of skill practices should be on the larger muscle groups and the finer movements should occur later in the skills development. For example, when learning to pitch a softball the coach should concentrate on the individual, ensuring the shoulder and arm movement (using the larger muscle groups) is correct during the cognitive and associative stages. As this movement is leant the coach can then focus on the pitcher trying to put spin on the ball (finer motor skills) in the autonomous stage. By trying to learn to put spin on the ball too early in the process the pitching movement may not be learnt properly and the pace and direction of the pitch may not occur automatically.

    PDHPE Application and Inquiry HSC Course ISBN 978 0 19 556610 9 ? Oxford University Press Australia

    Continuous skills tend to build upon skills already learnt, such as running, and therefore most individuals will spend little time in the cognitive stage of learning and progress through quite quickly. Discrete skills can be harder to learn. When learning to throw correctly it can be difficult for people to co-ordinate the step forward, arm movement and follow-through. This means that when coaching discrete skills a coach may need to spend longer than when teaching continuous skills. Serial skills can be more difficult again and the coach may need to ensure that all the parts that need to be combined are learnt separately if the individual is to move out of the cognitive and associative stages of skill acquisition. Knowledge of the skill will help the coach to design coaching activities that will allow the individual to move faster through the stages of skill acquisition.

    When learning motor skills the earlier in the stages of skill acquisition that the movements can be performed in a game-like setting the better the knowledge of how and when to perform the skills in a game can be established. Decision-making skills are very important in a game such as tennis. A coach may be able to get an individual into the autonomous stage of skill acquisition for a drop shot, but if the player performs this in a game while the opponent is at the net the player will lose the point. The coach needs to ensure that in the early stages of learning the individual experiences game-like situations so that when he or she plays against an opponent the individual can decide which skills to use and apply these against the opponent.

    Similarly, during the early stages of learning an individual needs to be able to apply the skills he or she has learnt in a tactical and strategic manner. For example, when playing tennis a player may be an expert at the drop shot and so the player needs to be able to move the opponent around the back of the court so that the player can perform a drop shot and win the point. The tactic of hitting the ball to the back of the court and moving the opponent around before playing a drop shot needs to be learnt as the individual moves through the stages of skill acquisition. The relevance of the skills being learnt is enhanced and the overall performance of the skill is improved.

    PDHPE Application and Inquiry HSC Course ISBN 978 0 19 556610 9 ? Oxford University Press Australia

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