The aim of this lesson is to learn about skills, what they are, how they are classified and how our brains process the information required to perform them (Equivalent to UK GCSE Physical Education)

 The definition of a skill is:

"A learned ability to bring about the result you want, with maximum certainty and efficiency"

In other words, a skill:

  • Is learned
  • Has an end result
  • Should be performed under control
  • Should use the minimum amount of energy

Skills can be either basic or complex:


  • We learn a lot of basic skills at an early age
  • Basic skills are transferable between lots of different sports and situations
  • You have to master the basic skills before moving on to the complex skills
  • Examples of basic skills are running, hopping, dodging an opponent


  • These require more coordination and control
  • They tend to be specific to a particular sport (i.e. non-transferable)
  • They take a lot of practice to master
  • Examples of complex skills include a smash shot in badminton, a tennis serve or a volley in football

Skills can also be open, closed or somewhere inbetween!


  • An open skill is affected by external factors
  • For example a football pass will be affected by your position, the position of your opponents and your team mates as well as playing conditions e.g. wind/wet pitch etc


  • A closed skill is not really affected by the environment, or other people
  • For example in darts, the aim a lot of the time is for a triple 20 and there are few environmental factors to consider

In reality, most skills fall somewhere between open and closed. They can be shown as a continuum, with open at one end, closed at the other and everything else inbetween. An example of a skill in the middle is a badminton net shot. This is only affected by the position of your opponent and the shuttle when you reach it.

Information Processing

When we are learning a new skill our brains must take in, process and use a lot of information about the skill and environment. This model demonstrates what is happening when we are performing a skill:

1. Input: All of the information your brain receives e.g. what you see, hear and feel

2. Decision Making: Your brain processes this information and decides how to react

3. Output: This is what happens as a result of your decision

4. Feedback: This is the most important part of the learning process as you see what happened last time and learn how to make it better next time.

There are several types of feedback:

The feel of the skill, if it felt right - this is intrinsic feedback

Verbal feedback from other people like coaches, team mates and parents - this is extrinsic feedback

Results - you can see how effective the performance was, for example, did the ball go where you meant it to? - extrinsic feedback

Memory and Perception

Perception is your brains interpretation of all of the information it receives.
Your brain filters out of the irrelevant information that it doesn't need - this is called selective attention.
Your brain searches through its memory for relevant information from past experiences and things you have learned.
This helps the brain make an informed decision about how to respond.

Selective Attention

Our brains only have a limited capacity for dealing with information all at once. There is only so much they can deal with! For this reason it has to filter out any information which is not relevant to performing the skill