Discuss the differences between skill, ability and technique and explain how you would structure practices to enchance those components of fitness.

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Discuss the differences between skill, ability and technique and explain how you would structure practices to enchance those components of fitness.


This essay will investigate the differences between skill, ability and technique and the way in which they are related it will also discuss how sports practices can be structured to develop these three components of fitness.

In order to do this, the following will be discussed

  • What is skill, types of skill and how they are related
  • What are abilities and how they are different to skills
  • Types of ability and how they are linked
  • Ways in which abilities can be enchanced
  • What is technique
  • How technique, ability and skill are related
  • How technique is practiced and ways in which it can improve.
  • Conclusion- other influential factors that affect performance

When we watch elite athletes perform we say they are skilful. ‘A skilled movement is one in which a predetermined objective is accomplished with maximum efficiency with a minimum outlay of energy.’ Honeybourne et al, 2000 . For example take David Beckham, we see him as skilful because he shows consistency in his performances, his work rate is always very high. He is confident and in control with the ball when dribbling and is focussed on an objective, either to pass it to one of his team mates in a better position than he is, carry on with the ball nearer to the goal or take a chance with a shot from his current position. Whatever option he chooses he must be accurate or the ball could be played to an opponent.

                The above underlined factors are innate abilities that David Beckham possesses for example his speed is related to his genetic make up of number of fast twitch fibres. The biomechanics of the way he dribbles the ball or how he passes the ball to another team player are examples of his technique. Hence the following formula can be constructed.


Galligan et al, 2000

There are 3 main types of skill (see appendix I). However performance is sport is an extremely complex process and relies on more than one type of skill being demonstrated. Most skills are referred to as perceptual motor skills as they involve thought, interpretation and movement; cognitive skills, perceptual skills and motor skills. For example a hockey player has to plan tactics and strategies (cognitive skills) if they interpret an opponent approaching (perceptual skills) and so solve the situation by passing to another team player (motor skills).

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‘Abilities are inherited, innate and generally enduring traits that an individual possesses allowing them to complete various skills’ Galligan et al, 2000. Therefore it can be said that abilities are different to skills in the way that they are a component of fitness that have general attributes (i.e. reaction time, speed of movement, response orientation and manual dexterity) that aid skill. Abilities can be categorised into psychomotor ability and gross motor ability (see appendix ii for definitions). Strength (gross motor ability) is necessary for a successful rugby tackle. It will be unlikely for someone to become a skilled basketball player ...

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