How does the acquisition of skill affect performance?

How does the acquisition of skill affect performance?


There are three stages of skill acquisition that sit along a continuum of skill learning. COGNITIVE Characterised by frequent errors and is the stage when the learner has to think a lot about the skill and how to execute it. Require lots of frequent feedback. ASSOCIATIVE Largest and longest stage. Characterised by lots of practice. As the athlete progresses towards the next stage errors become less frequent and smaller. AUTONOMOUS

Characterised by few if any errors that are minor. An athlete at this stage of skill acquisition can think about other aspects of competition and not think at all about the skill itself. ACTIVITY In order to examine the stages of skill acquisition you will need to experience it. Learn to juggle help you to understand associative stage require lots of practice Throw with your non-dominant arm help you to understand the

cognitive stage. Think heavily about how to coordinate your muscles COGNITIVE SKILL ACQUISITION Characterised by mental processes and the athlete thinking about the skill. The athlete needs to think about: Their body position

Which muscles they are contracting What the movement should look like. The athlete is thinking about what they are doing at each section of skill execution, resulting in a non fluid movement. COGNITIVE SKILL ACQUISITION CONT Athletes at this stage: Have large frequent errors Have a robotic jerky movement. May miss the ball that they are attempting to kick completely Or kick it backwards instead of forwards. Example - try and visualise a toddler learning to walk, or a 3 year

old trying to kick a ball. They watch lots, try and mimic movements, and get frustrated at their errors. A coach needs to provide lots of feedback and demonstrations during the cognitive stage of skill acquisition. May use videos or other visualisations to help show the athlete what the skill looks like when done well. A coach will often break the skill down into its various sections to be put together as the athlete progresses in their learning. COGNITIVE SKILL ACQUISTION CONT When learning a new skill, frequent short periods of exposure are best for its development. 20-40 min 3-5 times a week is a great amount of practice for

learning a new skill. During a training session - break this new skill up by including skills the athlete does well - ensure they are getting positive results as well as they learn the new skill. This makes distributed part practice the best practice method for the athlete at the cognitive stage of skill acquisition. ASSOCIATIVE SKILL ACQUISITION

The athlete has progressed from thinking about what they are doing to thinking about how they do the skill. They are no longer thinking about body position, but where they are passing the ball, or hitting the ball. Begin to think about end results rather than just on whether they manage to kick or hit the ball. The movement becomes more fluid and smooth. There are still errors though these are not as large or as frequent as the cognitive stage of skill acquisition. ASSOCIATIVE SKILL ACQUISITION CONT Athlete can begin to provide some of their own feedback Still benefit from immediate feedback concerning their technique provided by a coach as well as knowledge of results.

Can adjust their technique and begin to increase the complexity of the context in which the skill is executed. For example, hitting or kicking a moving ball, rather than a stationary one. During the associative stage the athlete needs lots of practice that is whole and normally massed, though if they get bored distributed should be used. This stage often lasts a long time, with many athletes not progressing to the final autonomous stage of skill acquisition. AUTONOMOUS SKILL ACQUISITION

When the athlete no longer thinks at all about the skill. The movement comes naturally and the athlete can focus on other aspects of the competition, such as: Who to pass the ball to How to beat the defensive player Where to hit the forehand. The athlete knows what the movement feels like and can provide their own feedback

External feedback on skill execution may be beneficial. Coaching an autonomous athlete usually focuses on the execution of the skill under pressure and with various cognitive processes being completed at the same time. This is usually done through small-sided games or competition simulations, such as sparing. AUTONOMOUS SKILL ACQUISITION CONT Is the mastery stage and athletes who reache this stage exhibit characteristics of skilled performers. These characteristics include: Kinaesthetic sense Good anticipation Consistency of performance Sound technique. Such athletes can correct their own movements midway through the

movement to adjust to oppositional movements or environmental interference. They consistently perform the skill well with minor errors occurring rarely. This final stage of skill acquisition is not reached by all athletes. Many remain in the associative stage throughout their sport playing life. Athletes who become elite, have usually reached the autonomous stage

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