Monday, August 17, 2020

Academic Quick Hit - Acquiring Skill in Sport: A Constraints-Led Perspective - Davids, Araujo, Shuttleworth, and Button, 2003

Where I attempt to give a quick summary and opinion on an academic paper that connects to teaching, learning, and/or sport.

Why I think this paper matters:
- The authors, leaders in the field of ecological dynamics, give a brief summary of the constraints-led approach (CLA) framework of skill acquisition.

Davids, K., Araujo, D., Shuttleworth, R., & Button, C. (2003). Acquiring skill in sport: A constraints led perspective. International Journal of Computer Science in Sport, 2(2), 31–39.

Type of Paper: Review/Opinion
The authors weave a short literature review together with their views on how to best structure learning environments for skill acquisition.

- Active participation and concentration on exploring the solution space by the learner is better for skill acquisition than satisfying task demands prescribed by a coach. (This can be loosely thought of as discovery learning.)
- There are three main task constraints that coaches can manipulate: equipment, practice structure, and augmented feedback (p. 33) (Augmented feedback usually refers to feedback from a coach rather than from performing the skill alone.)
- "practice structure should emphasize 'task simplification' rather than the more traditional technique of task decomposition" (p. 34) (Simplifying the whole skill rather than teaching "whole-part-whole")
- Feedback from coaches should use external focus of attention (from Wulf's OPTIMAL theory) and should be used more infrequently.

What I'm left wondering:
-How effective is external cuing as compared to internal cuing? Are there differences in the rates of improvement?
- How would I work with a novice athlete learning to serve? How would I use external cuing and different constraints to develop the skill? I know how I used to do it but incorporating a CLA means coaching very differently.

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