A performer learns to use these underlying innate qualities in an organised way in order to carry out a co-ordinated movement.
To perform a skill, the first thing you need to do is learn it, using your information processing system.
Input Decision-making Output Feedback
The best way to learn a complex skill is to break it into parts and learn each part separately. Move the skill into your long-term memory through lots of practice.
Principles of Practice
- All practices should be chosen as a result of assessment.
- All practices should be chosen to suit the learners’ present level of skill.
- All practices should be introduced with clear objectives.
- Objectives should be stated in order of priority.
- Objectives must be communicated clearly to the learners before they begin to practice.
- All practices should be designed to develop learners’ awareness of their own performances and outcomes.
- Practices should reflect in a meaningful way what is required in the ‘whole’ skill or situation.
- Learners should be given a rest from practice the moment their performance begins to deteriorate. However, the practice should be returned to.
- Practice reinforces ideas.
- Only perfect practice eventually gives perfect results.
It is commonly believed that once the third stage of learning has been reached, the more permanent the performance of techniques will become. Common sense suggests that more practice will lead to over learning which, if corrective, will result in competent and skilful performance-practice makes permanent, permanent leads to perfect. The amount of practice or repetition of the technique results in over learning and this improves the retention of how to perform the technique.
Coaches should encourage over practice in sports where reproducing the same techniques is important for success. This will help to refine the technique and make it more resistant to forgetting. However, care must be taken to ensure that practice does not become tedious.
Time and practice variables are those which have been shown to be the most powerful predictors of student motor skill learning. A similar emphasis should be applied to learning the skill elements that are necessary for competitive performances in sport.
The degree of learning is a function of the ratio of time actually spent on learning and the actual time needed. Underlying this ratio is the need for mastery learning which is developed through good instruction. Mastery learning is in small units, is student focused, and requires students to master a unit before moving on to the next. Learning in small manageable chunks is particularly appropriate for linear activities such as swimming.
Effective learning time in activity is called "academic learning time," (ALT-PE). The amount of activity time students spend engaged at an appropriate difficulty level is the most important variable in performance achievement. This holds true with skill learning in sports. Effective practice time is called "beneficial training time" (BTT).
Time spent in subject matter or activities that are specific to competitions, is related to learning and performance change. However, not all time is equal in predicting achievement. Time spent in games or scrimmages has been shown to be negatively related to achievement. They do not conform to the good instructional dynamics of blocks of repetitions with feedback.
Individual student practice is the single most important determinant of success in learning a motor skill. The more a student practices at a high rate of success, the more likely learning will occur. Thus, individual, challenging, and successful practice with equipment is the most effective activity for altering skill competency.
Organizational strategies which promote appropriate practice are important. Athletes need to spend sufficient time for learning to occur and to be translated into consistent performance. Practicing for a day or two and expecting refined movements to result is a misconception that underlies many poor sporting endeavors. This tendency results in a decrement in learning and athletes playing games at inappropriate skill levels. Such resulting situations "turn-off" students to the activity, their perception being that they are "not good enough" to do the activity. Many physical education situations are actually teaching students not to do activities rather than building their skill repertoires.