Describing and evaluating practice methods

  • fixed
  • varied
  • massed
  • distributed
  • mental rehearsal
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Massed practice

Description:

  • continuous practice of a skill with no or few breaks
  • eg. continuous shooting in netball

Good for:

  • autonomous phase learners
  • developing fitness
  • overlearning skills
  • short duration skills
  • developing motor programmes

But:

  • tiring 
  • boring
  • overuse injuries
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Distributed practice

Description:

  • practice with regular breaks 
  • eg. sprint starts with regular breaks

Good for:

  • avoids boredom
  • dangerous skills
  • breaks give time for recovery and opportunity for feedback
  • associative/autonomous learners - improves understanding

But:

  • breaks are a disruption to learning
  • long breaks can be demotivating
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Fixed practice

Description:

  • practice in the same environment
  • eg. cricket bowler practising in indoor nets

Good for:

  • overlearning
  • developing motor programmes
  • closed skills (replicates competition)

But:

  • boring
  • not suitable for open skills (doesn't prepare for match situation)
  • overuse injuries
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Varied practice

Description:

  • practice in different situations
  • eg. netball shooter shooting with defenders in different defensive positions each time

Good for:

  • open skills
  • preparation for real game
  • prevents boredom
  • develops schema

But:

  • too many stimuli - information overload
  • may confuse cognitive stage learners
  • may not be able to groove skill
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Mental rehearsal

Description:

  • going over skill in head to form a mental image
  • eg. dancer going over their dance routine in their head

Good for:

  • autonomous stage learners
  • reduces reaction time
  • controls arousal
  • increases confidence
  • works well with distributed practice during rests

But:

  • some people unable to use effectively
  • hard to apply in competitive situation
  • mental + physical practice better than mental alone
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