Practicing and Learning Skills in Sport

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Practicing and Learning Skills in Sport

Repeating skills over and over again is the key to improving newly learned skills, but some skills are complex on their required movement patens and to aid learning they are broken down into constituent parts that are then repeated individually.

This is known as the part method.

An example of this is triple jump, where all three phases of triple jump can be learned and practised separately.

Some skills do not have separate parts to them and therefore the whole skill has to be practised.

This is known as whole learning.

The type of practice a beginner participates in will depend on the physical and mental demands placed upon the athlete when performing the skill.

Basketball players may practise the set shot for a fairly long period of time, as there is no great physical or mental demand made of them.

This is known as massed practice.

If the basketball players were practising the lay-up shot then, because of the physical demand of this skill, there would be a short practice session, a rest and then repeated practise.

This is known as spaced practice.

To assist in the learning of new skills the teacher or coach will often give guidance.

There are three different types of guidance:

  1. Visual

  2. Verbal

  3. Manual

Visual guidance often comes in the form of demonstrations from the teacher/coach or from a video recording of other athletes performing that particular skill.

Verbal guidance is a spoken explanation of the skill that can occur before, during or after the skill has been performed.

Manual guidance can take the form of the teacher/coach helping someone by holding them while doing the movement. Or, where the skill is particularly dangerous or difficult, the performer may be in a belt or sling to give support and safety.