Sports Coaching



Pacing Continuum / Discrete / Continuous / Serial Skills

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Background knowledge:

  • There are two extremes of skill with other skills fitting in between the two extremes. This is a continuum just as Knapp’s open and closed continuum is. Self – paced skills are those that are instigated by the performer. They control the timing of the performance, taking as much or as little time as they want. E.G - Golf drive - the player hits the ball when he / she wants. Externally paced skills are those where the timing of the performance of the skill is not controlled by the performer but by an outside instigator. E.G - A service return in Tennis or starting gun in the 1500metres.
  • Discrete skills – have clear beginnings and endings. E.g. – a free throw in basketball.
  • Continuous skills – do not have clear beginnings and endings. E.g. – cycling
  • Serial skills – Made up of a number of discrete skills put together. They often make up a routine or sequence. E.g. – Gymnastics routine.

1) Take some sports equipment such as hockey ball / stick / soccer ball / tennis racket / cones / mats etc. Experiment for 15 minutes. You are trying to identify as many skills as possible which you can then place on the Pacing Continuum below:

Self Paced <------------------------------------------------------> Externally Paced

Now try to place the same skills into the following categories and then draw your own classification continuum on the back of this sheet for discrete - continuous skills.




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