Memory & Skill Acquisition

Sports Psychology Memory

This section looks at memory, its stores, and methods to improve memory. (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education). Without memory, information processing, and skill learning are not possible. Memory is a complicated thing and the whole process of memorising a skill or event is not yet known.


The following tries to explain the process as it is understood so far:

  1. A stimulus triggers the senses (sight; sound; touch; smell; taste)
  2. The information received from the senses enters the Short-Term Sensory Store (STSS)
  3. It is stored here for a maximum of 1 second and is filtered down to relevant information (This process is known as Selective Attention)
  4. Irrelevant information is discarded
  5. The relevant information is passed to the Short-Term Memory (STM)
  6. Information is stored here on a limited capacity for up to 1 minute
  7. The information here is used to make decisions – these decisions are made more quickly if information from long-term memory is used to compare with the current information
  8. Important information is moved onto the next stage:
  9. Long-Term Memory (LTM) has a potentially endless capacity and can hold information for a long time, this is achieved by:
    • Practising skills or rehearsing information which strengthens the motor programme
    • Association means the new information is linked to a previously stored memory
    • Meaningfulness of the information helps you remember it
    • Chunking and Chaining pieces of information together help us remember them more easily
    • Novelty – information which stands out from the crowd of other memories tends to be remembered!

There are thought to be three main areas of storage within the LTM:

  1. Procedural: This is where motor programmes are stored as it contains the information allowing us to remember how to do things
  2. Semantic: This area contains knowledge and facts
  3. Episodic: This is where personal experiences and events are kept.

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