Skill Acquisition Research

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Conscious control of movements and freezing degrees of freedom

When learning a new movement, we will typically move through phases. Initially the movement will look very rigid and uncoordinated. This is because we “freeze the degrees of freedom” – in other words, we do not let certain movements experience the full range of motion. Eventually, with practice, we begin to unfreeze the degrees of freedom and the movement starts to look more coordinated.

 In this study, participants who experienced more errors during during practice tended to consciously control their movements.

When teaching new skills, coaches should be aware of the impact of introducing tasks that are too difficult (hence, leading to a high number of errors), especially if the aim is for the learner to develop a free-flowing movement.



Random practice scheduling is beneficial for enhancing anticipation skill in tennis

It is common knowledge that sport experts have a superior ability to anticipate future actions. But what can coaches do to help train this skill?

According to the contextual interference (CI) effect, random practice, compared to blocked practice, generates more errors but also greater skill retention and skill transfer.



Affective Learning: What is it & how can it be assessed?

Train as you play. That is the mantra that is drummed into our ears. But how closely does sports practice actually mimic competition? Representative learning design is based on this premise.

To ensure practice is representative of competition, practice should sample important perception-action couplings akin to competition.

Likewise, the practice environment should evoke similar emotion as competition. This is referred to as Affective Learning, which stems from representative learning design.

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