Modelling coaching practice: The role of instruction and demonstration

MSL research field: 
Skill acquisition
Motor control
TitleModelling coaching practice: The role of instruction and demonstration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsHodges, NJ, Franks, IM
JournalJournal of Sport Sciences
Date Published10/2002
KeywordsAction observation

In this paper, we review the empirical literature pertaining to the effectiveness of instructions and movement demonstrations. Initially, we examine existing theories and approaches that try to explain the process of skill acquisition so as to determine implications of these theories for instructional provision. This is followed by an evaluation of studies in the motor learning literature in which pre-practice information has been manipulated. Explicit learning strategies are contrasted to implicit and discovery learning methods, and current explanations for instructional effects are discussed in terms of such mechanisms as effects-related attentional focus and movement variability. In the final sections, we review data from our own laboratory where pre-practice information has been manipulated during the learning of a novel bimanual coordination task. From these studies, proposals are made to try and explain how pre-practice information works to effect the process of skill acquisition, including the selection and execution of a response and the processing of associated feedback. An important role is given to the existing skills of the learner in understanding the instructions and performing the desired movement. Finally, we suggest some practical implications of this empirical evidence for the teaching of motor skills.

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