Sports Coaching



Essay Ideas - Review the classification of skills to include the differences between individual, coactive and interactive skills

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Before reviewing how skills can be classified, I believe it is important to realise and understand what skill is and the different interpretations of it. There are many alterations on peoples ideas about what skill is but what can be drawn from them is that they all start to relate together in some way.

Oldfield said “The behaviour which tends to eliminate the discrepancy between intention and performance”

Guthrie stated “The learned ability to bring about predetermined results with maximum certainty often with the minimum outlay of time, energy or both”

Whereas Professor G.P. Meredith claimed “Excellence of performance is the successful integration of a hierarchy of abilities (all the abilities we have) appropriate to a given task under given conditions”

Skill could be used to describe an act or task or use as an indication of the quality of a performance.

As an act or task - it is used to describe an act or task which has a specific aim that when achieved is described as skilful like, for example, a gymnast attempting a somersault is the aim and the successful completion is the skilful act

As an indicator of quality - its meaning is a little more vague. As an observer one would describe something as being skilful in relation to how well something is executed, like the clean and well placed strike of a cover drive in cricket. This indicates that skill in this context is down to the interpretation of the observer.

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Individual Sport
Team Sport
Racket Sport

Deciding quickest route to take in cycling
Deciding whether or not to dribble or pass in football
Deciding what shot to play in tennis

Jumping in relation to height of bar in high jump
Shooting in relation to where the goalkeeper is in hockey
Hitting a drop shot when the opponent is backcourt in badminton

Jumping in triple jump
Tackling in rugby
Connecting with the ball in squash

From this table it is noticeable that all 3 types can be related closely, like dribbling in football where the player has to 1st decide the route, then analyse the players around before finally carrying out the dribble.

A Continuum

Used in classifying skills when there is no definite discrete variable and a skill can be placed progressively along the line of 2 types of skills.

The Gross and Fine Continuum

Involves large muscle movements
Involves small muscle movement

Putting a shot put
Rifle shooting

Shooting in football
Throwing a line out ball in rugby

Hitting a smash in tennis
Hitting a drop shot in tennis

These examples could go in both categories depending on the way one wishes to carry out the skill

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The Open and Closed Continuum

Environment dictates how a skill is carried out and it is not performed the same each time
Environment is stable so the skill can be carried out exactly the same each time

Cycling, because the earth’s environment dictates where the cyclists goes
A somersault in gymnastics

Shooting in football, ball could come from anywhere
Conversion in rugby to an extent although weather can decide how the ball is kicked

Running onto a forehand in tennis
Tennis serve

The fact that some movements cannot be easily placed into either category shows that it is a continuum.

The Discrete, Serial and Continuous Continuum

Skills are brief, well defined with a clear beginning and end
Made up of a group of discrete skills that form an overall skill
Have no obvious beginning or end, the cycle could repeat itself

Hop phase of a triple jump
Whole triple jump
Running in athletics

Penalty flick in hockey
Dribbling the ball and then scoring a goal in football
Running with the ball in rugby

Throw up of ball during a serve in tennis
The whole serve action
A tennis rally

Individual, Coactive and Interactive Skills

Individual skills are those performed in isolation

Coactive skills are those performed at same time as others but without any direct contact

Interactive skills are those performed where others are directly involved

A somersault in gymnastics
Sprinting the 100m

Cannot perform a team skill in isolation
Relay in athletics
A football match

Practising a serve in tennis in isolation
A tennis match
A doubles match in badminton

In conclusion from the tables and the definitions above, there is no definite classification for any of the skills, they are placed neither in one or the other and so the continuums are very important in classifying skills correctly. The only way that a skill can be placed into a category is by placing it along a continuum which defines how much a skill favours one find of classification than another. For instance, a spin bowl in cricket could be placed progressively along the gross and fine continuum because the bowl could be made a gross movement for a little pace but involve some fine movement for the spin, but the next bowl could be made a more fine movement by concentrating more on the spin than any pace. Coaches and trainers can use the continuums for great advantage when devising training programmes for their target trainees. The continuums can place people in different parts due to their level of skill and therefore training sessions can be planned to suit the level of skill so not placing the people out of their depth. For instance, a learner who has just taken up football will need to be taught basic skills like passing and throwing a ball in, but an experienced, highly skilled footballer will need to be taught more technical skills to add to their already skilled game.

But the disadvantage of the continuums is that one cannot place a skill definitely in one category or the other which means that there is some uncertainty among the classification of skill and this is why there are so many different definitions of what skill is because different people have different ideas about what skill is.

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Ÿ Roscoe PE

Ÿ PE for Edexcel

Ÿ Wiggins PE

Ÿ Honeybourne PE

Ÿ Wiggins A-Z of PE

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