Acquiring Movements Skills


Classification of Movement Skills

Difficulty (Simple-Complex)

  • = number of decisions you have to make
  • Simple has few sub-routines
  • Complex has many sub-routines

Pacing (Externally paced-Self paced)

  • = the rate at which the skill is performed
  • Self paced is when you initiate the movement
  • Externally paced is when the environment determines the pace

Environmental influence (Open-Closed)

  • = the influence of the environment on the skill

Continuity (Discrete-Serial-Continuity)

  • = how well defined the beginning and end of the skill are
  • Discrete= clear beginning and end. Can be repeated but must start from the beginning
  • Serial= several discrete movements put together to make an integrated sequence of movements
  • Continious= no clear beginning or end

Organisation (Low-High)

  • = the way in which a skill is organised
  • High organisation= Sub-routines that are difficult to seperate. Skill is fluent
  • Low organisation= Split up into sub-routines that are easily identified

Muscular involement (Gross-Fine)

  • = the precision of the movement
  • Gross= large muscle groups, little regard for precision
  • Fine= small muscle groups, intricate movements, involves accuracy and coordination


Methods of practice

Part practice

  • =working on perfecting isolated sub-routines; once the sub-routines are perfected, they are put back together
  • Advantages: good for beginners, good for dangerous skills, gives early success
  • Disadvantages: takes a long time, learners lose kinaesthetic sense of the skill

Whole practice

  • =the skill is learnt in its complete form without being broken down into sub-routines
  • Advantages: good for skills that are high in organisation, allows the learner to get the flow and timing of the skill
  • Disadvantage: can be demotivating, not suitable for complex or dangerous sports, too difficult for beginners

Whole-Part-Whole practice

  • =learner tries the whole skill first to get the feel of the performance; teacher then identifies the weak parts of the skill and practices it in isolation; once the weak parts are perfected the whole skill is tried again
  • Advantages: learner gets kinaesthetic feel for the skill, focus on weak areas
  • Disadvantages: cannot be used for high organisation skills

Progressive practice

  • =parts of complex skills are practiced in isolation, then linked together in larger parts before combining the whole skill
  • Advantages: good for complex


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