Skill acquisition for coaches

Here at Skill acquisition for coaches, we put the complex information into basic terms to save you reading between the lines through literature.


Finally random practice is again where two or more task are completed but in a completely random order. For example, playing a series of different shots in tennis, but with no predetermined order. The levels of contextual interference are very high, it mimics a game like situation where the ball could be played anywhere on the court. This would be used when your athletes are more experienced players as they can recall information from their working memory and use the motor programme associated with it to complete the skill.


The second type of practice is serial practice. This is where two or more tasks are repeated in a serial order. An example of this would be when your athletes would practice a spin from one hand once or twice, and then off the other hand once or twice. This form of practice has slightly more contextual interference, however the predictability of the task is quite high because of the set order. Use this with athletes who are more experienced than the novices that use blocked practice.


There are three main types of practice that can help integrating contextual interference into programming. They are blocked random and serial. Blocked practice is where the same skill will be repeated over and over again with no change. An example of this would be practicing the same serve in tennis, or passing a rugby ball from the same hand. This type of practice is mainly used for beginners. By keeping the task simple, your athlete can concentrate on the outcome of the task rather than complicating it. This means there is little contextual interference.


The quality of practice is important. Effectively integrating different stimuli into relatively simple drills can make the learning effect more beneficial. This is known as contextual interference. This interference is relevant information that is used to challenge your athlete in the simple task.
By constantly giving your new and different stimuli helps task become more realistic, like a game situation where the environment change into almost anything. Putting your athlete into different situations in training should help them cope in a similar situation in the proper game.


To acquire new skills for athletes, ideas have been proposed on how to help them retain important information to do with the skill. This is known as skill acquisition. Skills are learnt in different ways by different people. However the single most important factor when it comes to learning and retaining information about a skill is practice. The idea of practicing a skill helps the athlete discover what cues they are looking for both internally and externally, they also discover how the skill feels. This feeling is known as kinaesthetic awareness. To become an expert in the particular skill requires 10,000 hours of practice.

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