Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Skill Acquisition Literature Review

I am taking over topic coordination of Skill Acquisition and Biomechanics at Flinders University. My summer reading was to review relevant literature to 'bring me up to speed'. In this blog, I share some of that reading.
French,K. & Thomas, J. (1987). The relation of knowledge development to children’s basketball performance. Journal of Sport Psychology, 9, 15-32.
The development of a sport knowledge base plays a salient role in the skilled sport performance of children
Limited physical skills of young players may constrain their ability to make the most appropriate context-specific decisions...players physical skill may therefore influence cognitive decision making
McPherson, S. & Thomas, J. (1989). Relation of knowledge and performance in boys’ tennis: age and expertise. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 48, 190-211
Experts, regardless of age, performed better than novices on tennis skill and knowledge; experts' decisions and actions were better during tennis game performance. Declarative knowledge was related to the development of procedural knowledge; serve and groundstroke skill were related to the motor execution components of performance. Experts, as compared to novices, focused on higher level concepts, had more connections between concepts, and had more condition and alternative action concepts that were important to the game's goal structure. Experts' greater decision-making ability during game play was therefore related to their knowledge structure.
Nevett, M.  &  French, K. (1997). The development of sport-specific planning, rehearsal and updating plans during defensive youth baseball game performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 68, 203-214
Younger players action plans constrained by their skill level
Game contexts influence planning and procedural skill acquisition ie. Exposure to tactics necessary to influence procedural planning

Williams, A. M. (2000). Perceptual skill in soccer: Implications for talent identification and development. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(9), 737-750.

Skilled soccer players can recall and recognize patterns of play more effectively than their less skilled counterparts. This ability to encode, retrieve and recognize sport-specific information is due to complex and discriminating long-term memory structures and is crucial to anticipation in soccer. Similarly, experts use their knowledge of situational probabilities (i.e. expectations) to anticipate future events. They have a better than average idea of what is likely to happen given a particular set of circumstances. Also, proficiency-related differences in visual search strategy are observed. Skilled players use their superior knowledge to control the eye movement patterns necessary for seeking and picking up important sources of information. The nature of the task plays an important role in constraining the type of search used. Skilled soccer players use different search strategies when viewing the whole field (i.e. 11 vs 11 situations) compared with micro-states of the game (i.e. 1 vs 1,3 vs 3 situations). Visual search behaviour also differs between defensive and offensive plays.
Ward, P. & Williams, M. A. (2003). Perceptual and cognitive development in soccer: The multi-dimensional nature of expert performance. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 25, 93-111
Elite and sub-elite players, ranging in age from 9 to 17 years, were assessed using a multi dimensional battery of tests. Four aspects of visual function were measured: static and
dynamic visual acuity; stereoscopic depth sensitivity; and peripheral awareness.
Memory recall of structured patterns of play was most predictive of age. As early as age 9, elite soccer players demonstrated superior perceptual and cognitive skills when compared to their sub-elite counterparts.
Accurate prediction appears to be a consequence of integrating contextual information with situational probabilities or expectations stored in memory. With increasing age, elite players became more adept at predicting and confirming or adapting their typical response (Williams, 2000).
The perceptual-cognitive skill model indicates that from as early as 9 years of age, elite players can effectively utilize and integrate contextual information with expectations stored in memory in ways that differ systematically from those of their sub-elite counterparts.
The content and focus of practice sessions are likely not only to regulate motor skill development but also produce different knowledge representations that affect how players "read the game."

Baker, J., Cote, J. & Abernathy, B. (2003). Learning from the experts: Practice activities of a expert decision makers in sport. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74(3), 342-347.

Deliberate practice is the most effective form of training for developing expert performance. The benefits of participation in competition also rate highly.

Expert and the less skilled decision makers did not differ in the number of structured activities in which they participated during their developing years, but experts committed a greater amount of time to these activities, particularly investing more time in structured invasion-type activities.

Baker, J., Cote, J. & Abernathy, B. (2003). Sport specific practice and the development of expert decision-making in team ball sports. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15, 12-25.

Experts accumulate more hours of sport-specific practice from age 12 years onwards than did non-experts, spending on average some 13 years and 4000 hours on concentrated sport-specific practice before reaching international standard.
Related practice, in other non-sport specific contexts, emerges as a possible factor critical to the acquisition of decision making expertise in sport. Exposure to practice in other sport settings, especially in generic aspects of pattern recognition and decision making, may substitute for some of the many sport-specific practice needed to become an expert.

Starkes, J., Cullen, J., & MacMahon, C. (2004). A life-span model of the acquisition and retention of expert perceptual-motor performance. In A. Williams & N. Hodges (Eds.), Skill acquisition in sport: Research, theory and practice (pp. 259-281). London: Routledge.
Perceptual- cognitive skill = what one can perceive and understand
Perceptual-motor skill = what one can is able to perceive and do through movement
May develop at different rates but are mutually linked in player performance
Hypothesis is ...that lesser skilled may not be able to execute decisions they know are required, or physically skilled player lacking required perceptual-cognitive skill may not be able to make the correct decision.
Raab, M., Masters, R., & Maxwell, J. (2005). Improving the ‘how’ and ‘what’ decisions of elite table tennis players. Human Movement Science, 24(3), 326-344.
Sports performance comprises two primary components – ‘how’ (technique) and ‘what’ (tactics). Young elite table tennis players trained with both the how and the ‘what’ had greater performance increases than those trained in the how only.
Muller, S., Abernathy, B. & Farrow, D. (2006). How do world class cricket batsmen anticipate a bowler’s intention? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(12), 2162-2186.
Skilled batsmen not only use effectively the same perceptual information as do less skilled batsmen but additionally show a unique capability to pick useful information from early occurring cues...it is this early information pick-up that gives the impression of having more time.
Renshaw, I., Oldham, A. Davids, K., & Golds, T. (2007). Changing ecological constraints of practice alters coordination of dynamic interpretive actions. European Journal of Sport Science, 7(3), 157-167.
Batting against a bowling machine, as opposed to a bowler, led to a re-organisation of the coordination and timing of the stroke...may lead to the development of coordination patterns and timing that differ considerably from when batting against a real bowler.
Weissensteiner, J., Abernathy, B., Farrow, D. & Miller, S. (2008). The development of anticipation: a cross-sectional examination of the practice experiences contributing to expertise in cricket batting. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 30(6), 663-684.
Skilled players showed an ability to use prelease kinematic information to anticipate ball type that was not evident among other groups, and skilled players of all ages were distinguishable in terms of their accumulated  hours of cricket-specific experience.
Berry, J., Abernathy, B. & Cote, J. (2008). The contribution of structured activity and deliberate play to the development of expert perceptual and decision making skill. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 30(6), 685-708.
It is  the amount of invasion-type activity that is experienced and not necessarily intent (skill development or fun) or specificity that facilitates the development of perceptual and decision making expertise in this team sport (AFL).
Pinder, R., Renshaw, I. & Davids, K. (2009). Information processing in developing cricketers under changing ecological practice constraints. Human Movement Science, 28(4),
Differences in coordination patterns observed when facing both bowling machine and bowler highlights the importance of representative task constraints during practice.
Renshaw, I., Davids, K., Shuttleworth, I. & Chow, J. I. (2009).  Insights from ecological psychology and dynamical systems theory can underpin a philosophy of coaching. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 40(4), 540-602.
Implications –
1.       The mutuality of the performer and the environment – engagement in the performance environment requires detection  of the key affordances: the properties in the environment that can be detected as information to support action and is related to an individual’s ability to use it.
2.       Perception and action are coupled.
3.       Performance emerges as a consequence of organisation under interacting constraints.
4.       Performance development is a non-linear process.
5.       Variability is essential to the development of performance so that performers can adapt to changes in conditions.
6.       The individual is the focus of the learning process.
7.       The team is an open dynamic system where behaviour emerges from the interactions of individuals in the game.
8.       Instabilities help to re-organise the system – prevent performance plateaus.
9.       Encourage creativity in learning and performance
Kredel, R., Klostermann, A., Lienhard, O., Koedijker, J. & Michel, K. (2011). Perceptual skill identification in a complex sport setting. Web of Conferences, 1.
Elite players have a higher % of correct decisions combined with later movement initiation time. Elite players seem to optimise time available for information pick-up before initiating action.
Bruce, L., Farrow, D., Raynor, A., Mann, D. (2012). But I can’t pass that far! The influence of motor skill on decision making. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 152-161.
lesser motor skill did not constrain players from correct decision making, despite their inability to consistently execute this decision
motor skill-execution limits the ability to execute a given decision....lesser skilled select what they believe is the best option irrespective of a physical skill required to execute the pass successfully


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