Skill Acquisition

Skill acquisition

Skill acquisition is the area of sports psychology concerned with how athletes learn and retain new skills. This includes defining abilities and skills, theories of learning, motor programs, and schema theory.

Having a good understanding of how the mind works and people learn can help improve your own sports performance, especially learning new techniques as well as being beneficial for coaching and teaching others.


This section looks at memory, it’s stores and methods to improve memory. (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education). Without memory, information processing and skill learning are not possible. The 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 …

Motor Programs & Schema Theory

Motor Programme: A series of subroutines organized into the correct sequence to perform a movement. Stored in the long term memory, retrieved when we need to perform the skill.

Teaching Styles

This section looks at the different teaching styles and forms of guidance (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education). The styles of teaching that an instructor, coach or teacher adopts depends upon their own personality and ability, the activity and skill being taught, the learner’s ability, motivation, age, and the learning environment. Mosston and Ashworth Spectrum …

Information Processing

The section will look at various information processing models from the basic model to Whitings model. Also covered are Hicks Law, factors affecting Reaction time, Single Channel Hypothesis and Psychological Refractory Period.  When we are performing a skill, many decisions must be made. For example, if making an overhead clear in badminton, we must decide, …

Teaching Methods

This section looks at the different methods used in teaching and varying ways of practicing a new skill (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education) Teaching Methods During lessons and training sessions, the teacher or coach must provide guidance to the athletes to ensure they learn effectively. To do this the demonstration and practice of …

Theories of Learning

This section looks at different learning theories, the different types of feedback and Learning Plateaus. Theories include Operant Conditioning, Insight Learning, and Bandura’s Observational Learning. In order to produce a successful response to a problem, the athlete must find a solution. If a solution works and the problem is resolved, they will be rewarded and …

Transfer Of Learning

This section looks at the different forms of transfer. Practical examples of their uses are also included. (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education) Learning or regularly performing a skill can affect, either positively or negatively, the learning of a second skill.

Ability & Skill

This section describes the difference between abilities and skills, skill continuums, and their uses in a practical context. Abilities Your ability is the skills and qualities which make it possible for you to achieve a task. These are stable and enduring characteristics which are genetic and can be either completely perceptual, completely motor or a …

Phases Of Learning

This section looks at the three stages of learner and descriptions of the tasks performers are expected to do at each stage. (Equivalent to UK A Level Physical Education) “Learning may be considered to be the more or less permanent change in performance associated with experience” Knapp (1973) Three stages of learning have been identified: …

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