Chapter 16 Summary
- Knowledge about skills has come
from a variety of scientific disciplines and can be applied
to many settings, such as sport, physical education, industry
and physical therapy.
- A skill is usually defined as the
capability to bring about an end result with maximum certainty
and minimum time and energy.
- Motor skills have been defined
as skills in which physical movement is required to accomplish
the goal of the task.
- In skilled performance many different
components are involved. These include perceptual or sensory
processes, decision-making and movement output.
- Skills may be classified along
numerous dimensions, such as: open and closed, discrete,
continuous and serial, motor and cognitive. These classifications
are important because the principles of skill and their
learning often differ for different categories.
- It is important to remember that
these are just descriptive theories – they really
explain very little, and often much of what we deal with
fits poorly in to these categories, the usual solution to
this is to add ever more categories until ‘it’
(the classification system) ‘works’.
- Learning produces an acquired capability
for skilled performance.
- It results from practice or experience,
is not directly observable, is inferred from performance
changes and produces relatively permanent, not transitory
- Performance curves are plots of
individual or average performance against practice trials.
They can either increase or decrease with practice, depending
on the particular way the task is scored.
- The law of practice suggests that
improvements are rapid at first and much slower, later.
This is a nearly universal principle of practice.
Individual differences in skilled
- Individual differences in skilled
performance are always stable from one attempt to another
attempt, endure over time (persist) and are not necessarily
indicated by skill differences on one single trial.
- Skills are easily modified by practice,
countless in number, and represent the particular capability
to perform a particular activity.
- Abilities are genetically defined,
essentially unmodified by practice or experience and trait
- Whilst the idea that there is some
kind of general motor ability to learn is a seductive one
there is little evidence to support it.
Motor skill development
- Motor skills development always
follows an invariant order or pattern, so we literally cannot
run before we walk.
- Cognitive, social and physical
aspects often operate together.
- This development is in a cephalocaudal
direction (head to feet) and also in a proximodistal direction
(midline to extremity).
- We are usually born with reflexes
which are then further developed. This leads to voluntary
movement and increased independence.
- There are some cross-culture differences
in the rates of change but not in the order.
- We develop manipulative skills
which develop into more specialized skills.
- Gender differences have been demonstrated
in the performance of motor skills.
- These can be seen through the stages
of motor development.
- In pre-pubertal children the physical
differences are small but these differences seem to increase
- Some of these differences can be
explained by physical differences but some researchers feel
that these are not as important as social and cultural factors
which tend to treat the genders differently to the detriment
of girls’ sporting achievements.