Issuu on Google+

Direct from my desk/ Dr mouwafk Majeed Mola

‫دراسات في التعلم الحركي لطلبة البحث العلمي‬

MOTOR LEARNING STUDIES mouwafak.mola@aspire.qa

11

11


LEARNING IN SPORTS This first issue of Volume 3 of Coaching Science Abstracts reviews articles concerned with learning in sporting and physical activity settings. It embraces the field of sport pedagogy, primarily focusing on skill learning but also includes instructing general sporting behaviors. It is divided into seven sections: The nature of skill learning. The content of sports instruction. Styles of instruction. Forward shaping/chaining. Examples of forward shaping/chaining/progressions. Backward shaping/chaining. Examples of backward shaping/chaining/progressions. Teaching general behavior control.

The content of the items is divided between traditional abstracts, the hallmark of this web site, and reproduced or extracted elements of resources which provide a more in-depth treatment of topics. Some of the content is dated but is as relevant today as it was when first published. By including those items, this editor is making an obvious statement that in sport pedagogy as it is disseminated in today's popular coaching outlets, the history of this rich area of research and its many valuable lessons for practical implementation have been either lost or discarded. A coach cannot assume that good-intentioned instruction will be done well or will be optimally effective for athletes. There are valid and effective models of instruction which need to be followed to reliably alter athletes' skills and general behaviors. Without implementing those models coaching will largely be ineffective. A return to a rigor of instruction and a demonstration of pedagogical skill is warranted among the coaching ranks.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

THE NATURE OF SKILL LEARNING 1. PHYSIOLOGY OF MOTOR LEARNING Hellebrandt, F. A. (1972). The physiology of motor learning. In R. N. Singer (Ed.), Readings in motor learning (pp. 397-409). Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger . 2. SKILL LEARNING CHARACTERISTICS

2


Bartlett, F. (1972). The experimental study of skill. In R. N. Singer (Ed.), Readings in motor learning (pp. 12-19). Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger . 3. DETERMINANTS OF SKILL TRANSFER FROM TRAINING TO COMPETING Christina, R. W. (1996). Major determinants of the transfer of training: Implications for enhancing sport performance. In K-W. Kim (Ed.) Human performance determinants in sport (pp. 25-52). Seoul, Korea: Korean Society of Sport Psychology. 4. SPECIFICITY OF TRAINING - TRANSFER OF TRAINING EFFECTS FOR SKILLS RARELY OCCUR Brent S. Rushall, in answer to questions from Dr. Larry Weisenthal (1997). 5. CORRECT PRACTICE Ashy, M. H., Landin, D. K., & Lee, A. M. (1988). Relationship of practice using correct technique to achievement in a motor skill. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 7, 115-120.

Blakemore, C. L., Hilton, H. G., Harrison, J. M., Pellett, T. L., & Gresh, J. (1992). Comparison of students taught basketball skills using mastery and nonmastery learning methods. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 235-247. 7. VARIED MOTOR SKILL PRACTICE IS BENEFICIAL FOR BEGINNERS Kerr, R., & Booth, B. (1978). Specific and varied practice of motor skill. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 46, 395-401. 8. FACTORS IN LEARNING SKILLED BEHAVIORS Abernethy, B. (1991). Acquisition of motor skills. In F. S. Pyke (Ed.), Better Coaching (pp. 69-98), Canberra, Australia: Australian Coaching Council .

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

6. MASTERY LEARNING

9. GOALS SHOULD BE SET AT A PARTICULAR STAGE OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE Mone, M. A., & Baker, D. D. (1989). Stage of task learning as a moderator of the goalperformance relationship. Human Performance, 2, 85-99. 10. BETWEEN TRIALS ACTIVITY

3


Magill, R., & Lee, T. D. (1984, October). Interference during the post-KR interval can enhance learning motor skills. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology, Kingston, ON. 11. EARLY LEARNING/TRAINING IS NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST Scott, J. P. (1962). Critical periods in behavioral development. Science, 138, 949-958. THE CONTENT OF SPORTS INSTRUCTION 12. PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FEEDBACK - A NECESSARY INGREDIENT FOR SKILL LEARNING Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 55-63). 13. FEEDBACK AND REINFORCEMENT Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 204207).

Singer, R. N., & Cauraugh, J. H. (1994). Training mental quickness in beginning and intermediate tennis players. The Sport Psychologist, 8, 305-318. 15. AGE-GROUP SKILL DEVELOPMENT Numminen, P., & Saakslahti, A. (1996, October). Gender differences - Are they dominant already in the early years? AIESEP Newsletter, 53, 4. 16. TIME TO START LEARNING TO SWIM Blanksby, B. A., Parker, H. E., Bradley, S., & Ong, S. (1995). Children's readiness for learning front crawl swimming. The Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 27(2), 34-37.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

14. RESPONSE AND MOVEMENT QUICKNESS CAN BE TAUGHT

17. PRACTICING FOR SPORTS - MIND IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MATTER Brent S. Rushall (1997), a response to a question posed by Mr. Alan Roaf, Executivedirector, Rowing Canada. 18. DRILLS WITH AND WITHOUT EQUIPMENT FOR SERIOUS ATHLETES - A STEP BACKWARD

4


Brent S. Rushall, February, 1997. Reply to question asking what are the best drills to be used to promote swimming excellence . STYLES OF INSTRUCTION 19. STYLES OF INSTRUCTION Boyce, B. A. (1992). The effects of three styles of teaching on university students' motor performance. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 389-401. 20. MAJOR INSTRUCTIONAL COMPONENTS Silverman, S. (1996). A pedagogical model of human performance determinants in sports. In Proceedings of the Pre-Congress Symposium of the 1996 Seoul International Sport Science Congress (pp. 32-41). Seoul, Korea: Korean Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 21. EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGY CONTENT Dirienzo, G. M. (1989). The effects of learning versus performance strategies on the acquisition of putting skill. Dissertation Abstracts International, A50/5, 1250.

22. THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF SHAPING: THE STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPING AND MODIFYING SPORTING BEHAVIORS Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 137147). 23. SHAPING MODEL 1: TEACHING A NEW SKILL/BEHAVIOR Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 147148).

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

FORWARD SHAPING/CHAINING

24. SHAPING MODEL 2: CHANGING A SKILLED BEHAVIOR Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 148152). 25. GENERAL FEATURES OF THE SHAPING PROCEDURE

5


Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 152155). EXAMPLES OF FORWARD PROGRESSIONS/SHAPING/CHAINING 26. SHAPING BASEBALL SKILLS IN CHILDREN Simek, T. C., & O'Brien, R. M. (1982, May). A chaining-mastery, discrimination training program to teach Little Leaguers to hit a baseball: An unintentional between groups, multiple baseline study. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. BACKWARD SHAPING/CHAINING 27. REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSIONS

28. TEACHING BACKWARDS - AN ALTERNATIVE SKILL INSTRUCTION PROGRESSION Modified version of Rushall, B. S., & Ford, D. (1982). Teaching backwards - An alternate skill instruction progression. CAHPER Journal, 48(5), 16-20. 29. ALTERING AND IMPROVING SWIMMING TECHNIQUE USING A REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION An abridged version of Sherman, C. A., & Rushall, B. S. (1993). Improving swimming stroke using reverse teaching: a case study. In W. K. Simpson, A. D. LeUnes, & J. S. Picou, (Eds.), Applied research in coaching and athletics annual 1993. Boston, MA: American Press.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Extracted from Rushall, B. S. (1996). Some practical applications of psychology in physical activity settings. In K-W Kim (Ed.), The pursuit of sport excellence Vol. 2 (pp. 638-656). Seoul, Korea: Korean Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

EXAMPLES OF BACKWARD PROGRESSIONS/SHAPING/CHAINING 30. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION An Example from Wrestling #1. 31. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION An Example from Wrestling #2.

6


32. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION An Example from Rowing. Rushall, B. S. (1984). Applied rowing research report III: A sequential approach to teaching rowing technique - backward shaping. Research report, Wintario, Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, Government of Ontario. 33. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION An Example from Golf . 34. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION Throwing a Javelin. Lynne E. Evans, United Kingdom.

35. MODEL 3: THE CONTROL OF BEHAVIOR 36. PHYSIOLOGY OF MOTOR LEARNING 37. Hellebrandt, F. A. (1972). The physiology of motor learning. In R. N. Singer (Ed.), Readings in motor learning (pp. 397-409). Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. 38. 39. "If muscles participate in more than one movement, as most do, they must be represented diffusely in the cortex. Presumably different centers connect via internuncial neurons with groups of peripherally disposed motor units. . . . .motor units are activated in a definite sequence which varies with the movement elicited. As the severity of effort increases, those involved primarily in one movement may be recruited to assist in the performance of others." (p. 398) 40. Implication. Movements, not muscles, are represented in the cortex. Patterns are learned and those patterns are peculiar to every movement. 41. ". . . reflexes evoked under similar conditions are extraordinarily consistent. Indeed, they are so repetitive as to warrant designating them patterned movements. . . the fundamental unit of action may be thought of as a total response in which agonists and antagonists, synergists and fixators participate in balanced and harmonious activity. Partial patterns emerge secondarily, by virtue of special training, . . " (p. 399) 42. Implication. Total actions (e.g., those to be used in a competitive setting) need to be trained. It is highly unlikely that partial or isolated training of movement segments will replicate the unit function in the total action. Thus, once techniques (total response patterns) are being refined, partial practices will serve no purpose other than to learn another movement. There will be no integration of the partial practice movement into the total response movement. 43. ". . . the sensory feedback coming from muscles, tendons and joints greatly affects movement patterns. Central excitations have a tendency to flow always into stretched muscles. Thus, every change in body positioning alters the configuration of the next succeeding efferent response. It affects not only the muscle stretched, but all functionally

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

TEACHING GENERAL BEHAVIOR CONTROL

7


‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

related muscle groups as well. This means that a change in the responsiveness of one component of a movement-complex spreads autonomously to the other constituents." (p. 399) 44. Implication. When a patterned movement is changed by the conscious effort to alter one aspect of the movement, the whole action is altered, most likely to perform worse. The isolated practices of drill elements and then consciously implementing the experiences from the drills into the pattern, usually will disrupt the pattern in its entirety. Thus, the changed element may be performed "better" but the other, previously acceptable movement characteristics will be altered, presumably for the worse. 45. ". . . willed movements which are new and unfamiliar always demand cerebration. They are performed at first with more or less conscious attention to the details of their execution. Once mastered, they operate automatically. Conscious introspection at this stage may even disrupt the nicety of an established pattern. After an act has become automatic, . . ., it is less well performed if it must first be considered and analyzed." (pp. 399-400) 46. Implication. Conscious attention to details of an automated action will reduce the efficiency/economy of that action. There is a time before a contest when conscious attention to details of technique at practice need to cease so that preparation can be perceived by an athlete as consisting of "good feeling" techniques that are performed automatically. 47. If many like movements are learned, conscious attention in a contest could switch to a less-efficient pattern of movement, particularly if one item of the skill is attended to. As attention then switches to other different features, the economy of a performance is degraded. 48. However, when fatigue is incurred, conscious attention to performance details produces a more efficient movement form than one that is executed automatically because it is so fatigued. Thus, there are times when conscious control of performance movements is detrimental (e.g., in non-fatigued states) and times when it is beneficial (e.g., in states of high fatigue). 49. When work becomes fatiguing, or efficient neuromuscular patterns no longer can be maintained, recruitment of motor patterns and motor components occurs. Irradiation associated with extreme stress is so widespread in the recruitment process that a willed movement limited to a single appendicular joint may evoke action potentials in muscles located in all four extremities, the head and neck, and the trunk. 50. Through practice, many activity patterns are learned. More than not, families of movement patterns are learned to accomplish the same functional outcome. While a task is being executed, movement patterns will be evoked in series to avoid unnecessary fatigue in the central nervous system mechanisms and the skeletal structures used. In fatigue and stress, the recruitment of extra responses and neural patterns will be more extravagant because of learned facilitation. Much training is performed in fatigue and thus, anything but restricted efficient movement patterns are learned to dominance. If specific limited training had only occurred, that is, the body only knew a narrow band of efficient movements, then the recruitment (irradiation) would be minimal and would center around efficient movement. 51. Practice does not make perfect. Only practice that yields feedback about the correctness of responses can generate advances towards perfection. If the activity content is largely

8


SKILL LEARNING CHARACTERISTICS Bartlett, F. (1972). The experimental study of skill. In R. N. Singer (Ed.), Readings in motor learning (pp. 12-19). Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger.

"Bodily skill consists essentially of a sequence, very often a repeated sequence, or cycle, of movements, in which each item grows out of preceding and leads to succeeding movements. When we take the item, or even a group of items out of the sequence and measure it by itself we can get very misleading ideas about its character and properties within the skill" (p. 15).

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

irrelevant for competitive requirements and/or feedback is inadequate or non-existent, the practices will be wasted. There is no dispute that individuals without external correct coaching feedback do improve in performance but only to a certain level. Without instruction individuals tend to adopt expedient strategies for movement control, which quite often are not the best or most economical forms. This is why an individual can play golf for 40 years, never have a golf lesson, and struggle to break 90 for 18 holes. The expedient patterns that have been learned and perpetuated limit performance to that mediocre level. 52. For efficient and maximum performance ". . . the kinesthetic acuity we should strive for is not enhanced general body awareness, but rather, a more sharply defined and specific sensitivity to what is happening in those key maneuvers upon which the success or failure of complex movement patterns may depend" (p. 407). 53. Implication. The skill content of practices has to mimic that of competitive requirements if beneficial training time is to be experienced. It is wrong to practice something with good intent (e.g., "I hope it will benefit the performance") without being able to justify and demonstrate correlated transfer to a competitive skill. If this dictum is not adhered to then much practice will be wasted or even counter-productive. It is quite possible that movements practiced could be so irrelevant that their impact on hoped for competitionspecific movements will be so destructive that performance will be worse than if no skill practice had been entertained. 54. The programming of appropriate transferable practice activities in an enriched milieu of correct instruction is a challenge for modern

"Notable irregularities in a pattern of control movements are the surest evidence of awkwardness in skill, and are usually the first sign of any break up of skill as a result of unsatisfactory working conditions " (p. 16). Ceiling or tolerance limits raise a number of theoretical problems. Any external variations in performance conditions (e.g., temperature, speed, load) can cause skill to be modified. If those changes remain within a restricted range, then performance can still persist. However, outside of that tolerable range of variations, even by a small amount, marked changes in performance occur immediately. There is no known permanent gain that can be derived from practicing outside these limits. Once the tolerance limits are reached for any determining characteristic or conditions of the skill, nothing in the way of permanent gain can be produced. Performance may

9


be attempted in spurts, but at such a cost, that it will exist for only a short duration. Performing outside of tolerable variations is particularly wasteful and counter-productive. It is known that a wide range of skills begin to deteriorate at an effective temperature of 83-88 degrees F (28-31 degrees C). "One of the most extraordinary characters of human skill is its capacity to get narrowly tied up with the particular conditions under which it is learned" (p. 17). Learned motor skills are rarely transferable. The human organism is a discriminator not a generalizing agent.

1. The equipment and method of teaching must be designed rather to show what the skill is required to effect than how the effect is produced. An outcome focus will allow individual variability to be accommodated in the skill elements, that is, each individual will display their own "style" while accommodating the general principles of the technique. 2. Generally, there is more transfer from the relatively difficult (complex) to the relatively easy (simple) rather than the other way round. Training should not normally begin with lines of least resistance. 3. In machine directed skills (e.g., rowing, archery, kayaking) the greatest difficulties in transfer all have to do with time and directional relations. While design must preserve consistency, because complete uniformity cannot be achieved, training must go as far as it can to prepare learners at an early stage for variability. 4. Efficient learning and the normal range of exercise are largely functions of aging. It must not be asserted that those methods which are best for young people will also be best for people who are well into adulthood DETERMINANTS OF SKILL TRANSFER FROM TRAINING TO COMPETING Christina, R. W. (1996). Major determinants of the transfer of training: Implications for enhancing sport performance. In K-W. Kim (Ed.), Human performance determinants in sport (pp. 25-52). Seoul, Korea: Korean Society of Sport Psychology.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Four features concerning the transfer of skill (p. 18).

The motor learning literature was reviewed and the factors which affect the transfer of skill items learned at training/practice to competitive settings were identified and summarized. This summary highlights the general principles underlying skill training/practice which need to be contemplated when designing activities that have the potential to benefit competitive performances. Training tasks need to contain the substance and methods of use of content which will occur in the competitive setting for contest performances to be predicted with any substantial degree of accuracy from practice performances. In the past, most theories have only emphasized content similarities but the most recent analyses of the field of motor learning have indicated that the use of that content is similarly important.

1 0


1. Level of Original Learning Positive transfer can be expected to increase with the level of learning achieved in practice providing the practice and contest tasks are structurally similar. Conversely, when training tasks differ from contest tasks, the degree of dissimilarity interferes with the quality of the contest performance. Implication. The tasks of training have to be structurally similar to a contest task and very well learned for there to be positive transfer. 2. Perceived Similarity

The greater the perceived (recognized) similarity of the training and competitive situations, the greater will be the amount of transfer. No transfer takes place when similarities are not recognized. In some cases, when dissimilarities are perceived, an athlete's application quality at practice will be degraded. Implication. For full transfer to occur, athletes have to be aware of the elements/components practiced in skills that need to be transferred to the competitive setting. Practice activities are detrimental to competitive performances when items are perceived to have few shared components and many distinctive/irrelevant ones. 3. Task Structure An athlete's mental representation of what is learned at practice is constrained by the structure of the practice tasks. When activities, such as drills, have "important" elements imbedded in quite a number of irrelevant elements, the representation of the target elements might be distorted by the "noisy" background elements in the practice items. Thus, transfer will be more difficult the greater is the proportion of irrelevant to relevant elements in the practice task. Task elements (isolated features of a skill needed for competition), when learned out of context (in a largely irrelevant skill) will be difficult to transfer. The quality of their execution is distorted by interference from irrelevant elements.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The basis of transfer from training to competition performances is the components shared by both tasks. This concept has gone unchallenged for almost a century. The greater the proportion of components of training tasks which match those of a required competitive performance, the greater will be the positive transfer. However, this transfer is modified by an athlete's recognizing the components which are similar between both settings and actively promoting their transfer.

Implication. Athletes need to be aware of the elements of a practice item which need to be transferred to a competitive setting. However, that awareness will be increasingly distorted the greater the number of irrelevant elements amongst which they are learned. If the belief is high that similarity exists between practice and contest tasks, but the tasks are really very dissimilar, then task transfer will be depreciated because of negative transfer, that is,

1 1


too many inappropriate/irrelevant elements will be transferred. Thus, despite the well-meaning intentions of a coach and athlete, irrelevant activity is likely to be harmful. 4. Similarity of Goals and Processing Elements learned at training are more likely to be transferred to competitions when the way they are practiced is similar to the way they will be used in the contest. The compatibility of practice and contest tasks modifies the amount of beneficial transfer. It is not merely the similarity of conditions between training and competitive tasks that is important, but the similarity of the underlying cognitive processes between the two. The mental processing and control of tasks is of such importance that when it is done correctly, it will more than offset changes in the conditions of the competitive task. Implication. Transfer of appropriate processing requires the practice of the mental content and control attempts that are likely to be used in competitions. It is not sufficient to have only the physical characteristics between the tasks similar but the mental activity accompanying those skills also has to be of like quality and content.

Increases in the number of training variations of situations should increase the chance of acquiring the most appropriate rules for transfer to competitive settings. The variations must be within the bounds of similar physical and mental skill elements. When training is varied to accommodate this factor, it is important that the performer be successful. If training is varied from the outset, performance improvements are likely to be hindered. Thus, variability must be gradually developed, each specific situation being successfully learned before the next variation is introduced. While new variations are provided, some revision of previous situations should also be experienced so that all options and the general strategies underlying the variable skill remain strong. As specific tasks and their variants are learned to produce a generalized strategy for tasks of a specific class, transfer to novel tasks within the same class is also enhanced.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

5. Number, Variability, and Order of Examples

Implication. Skills and their competition-specific variations should be introduced in a stepwise manner so that a general concept of the situational variants for the skill can be developed. It is necessary that each variant be learned, not just "experienced" without forming any degree of mastery. 6. Contextual Interference Contextual interference concerns the variations and sometimes contradictions which occur in the instructional process. If the learning experience includes inconsistencies in instruction, content focus, and activity construct, learning in the practice environment is slowed. However, difficult instruction can enhance retention and transfer to competitive activities once mastery is achieved.

1 2


Contextual interference induces processing strategies which are appropriate for learning a class of tasks. Learning should not focus on being difficult. There are some activities which do not require flexibility in the competitive setting and so response "flexibility" would not be needed. When an individual initially enters a sport setting it is important for experiences to be positive and successful until a feeling of general confidence in the activity is developed.

1. Increased item similarity in original learning of a task should produce better retention and transfer when the task is the same in competition as it was in original learning. [Sports such as shot-putting, swimming, and kayaking are in this class of activity. Activities of this type were once termed "closed" sports.] 2. When enhanced transfer is desired over a broader range of competitive activities than those experienced in training, a combination of both increased task similarity and contextual variety should be used in original training. [Soccer, basketball, and lacrosse are activities which require general strategies to be formed to cope with the unlimited variations of situations which arise in games. These "open" skills need variety in training for cognitive generalization to occur to adapt to various unique competitive task demands.] It still remains important for athletes to experience a significant number of successful trials at practice, whether for variable or specific skills, to achieve an eventual state of overlearning. If a basic skill strategy is not formed, then appropriate adaptability will not be exhibited in competitions. 7. Feedback

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The timing of introducing contextual interference is dependent upon the stage of learning and the activity. When a core strategy for a task is developed, but not necessarily overlearned, the variety of learning trials should be increased. If a task which needs to be adaptable is overlearned and becomes too specific, the lack of adaptability will be transferred with negative consequences. Thus, when considering contextual interference the following should be considered as principles for instructional guidance.

Augmented feedback about the nature of the task outcome in relation to an environmental goal is often referred to as "knowledge of results." Augmented feedback about the nature of a movement technique is often referred to as "knowledge of performance." The immediacy, accuracy, and frequency with which training feedback is provided to an athlete enhances its usefulness for improving both learning and performance. In the early stages of skill acquisition, feedback should be provided every trial ("continuous reinforcement"). However, to avoid reliance on feedback once an adequate level of performance is achieved, the frequency of feedback should be reduced ("fading" or "stretching the schedule of reinforcement"). Retention and transfer are better after the frequency of feedback is reduced. Summary of Implications

1 3


Implications. The elements of skill that are necessary for competitive performances need to be contextually, biomechanically, and cognitively the same in training. The value of practice activities decreases the greater the departure of these three characteristics from what is required in competitions. The belief that actually irrelevant practice activities will be beneficial for athletes in competitions will be counter-productive for subsequent competitive performances. The belief that poorly developed skill elements can be executed in competitions because of mental application is also counter-productive. There is no substitute or variation for the Principle of Specificity in skill training if skill is to be an important part of a competitive performance. Some sports in some nations (e.g., swimming and rowing in the USA) which employ a large number of practice drills that contain a greater proportion of irrelevant skill elements will lead to poor and incorrect skill execution in competitions because of the erroneous elements which have been practiced.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

1. Take time to build skills. Rapid acquisition usually means rapid forgetting or skill loss. 2. The similarity of goals and cognitive processing between training and competitive tasks is important for facilitating transfer. 3. Training tasks should not be too easy. Challenge and demand in practice will facilitate better learning ("conditioned strength") and transfer. A simple criterion for an effective practice task is that it require an athlete's undivided attention and understanding. 4. For competition tasks which vary little, training should be specific and similar in conditions. 5. For competition tasks which vary considerably, or produce a wide variety of rarely repeated situations, learning conditions should feature contextual interference once the basic skill elements are established. This will slow the learning rate but will lead to better transfer. Training should include high and low contextual interference tasks. 6. Knowledge must be the same and used in the same manner in both training and competitive tasks. 7. What is learned in training is potentially available for transfer. A large amount of irrelevant activities or skill elements is likely to cause competitive performances to be less than optimal. 8. Establishing the cognitive basis of performance, that is, understanding how and why things need to be done, will lead to better transfer from training to competitive settings.

SPECIFICITY OF TRAINING - TRANSFER OF TRAINING EFFECTS FOR SKILLS RARELY OCCUR Brent S. Rushall, in answer to questions from Dr. Larry Weisenthal (1997).

1. Physiological changes in one activity are not necessarily beneficial to another. The aerobic adaptations derived from running generally cannot be used effectively in swimming. Only those derived from swimming training can be effectively used in swimming. The specificity of aerobic adaptation is so specific that the great South African physiologist and endurance running guru, Dr. Tim Noakes of Cape Town University, has said:

1 4


"In aerobic endurance training, mitochondrial adaptations occur only in muscles stimulated by activity. The response is further limited to those fibers which are activated in the activity. Thus, white fibers are very unlikely to be stimulated to produce a training response in work that is consistently at or below anaerobic threshold. These adaptations are only specific and do not generalize to other forms of activity that may use the muscle, and therefore muscle fibers, differently. For example, endurance gained from flat-track running does not generalize or facilitate hill running." [This is from an abstract in Coaching Science Abstracts Vol 1(2).] 2. It also has been clearly shown, but in the strength literature, that excess strength does not produce any more muscular endurance than a training limited amount. In fact, in an abstract posted to the Coaching Science Abstracts excess strength training actually decreased muscular endurance. I use this example to argue by analogy. Having excess in a capacity in one activity does not appear to enhance performance above that level which is specifically needed in another activity.

3. The value of cross training diminishes proportionally with the increase in performance level of the athlete. I could go on at great length about the pitfalls of the human being if it was a generalizing animal instead of one that discriminates. A great biological argument could be made about the value of specificity for species survival which is contradictory to the generalization characteristics proposed in "cross-training." In the history of sport science, the current bent on cross-training is at least the third time that the "generality" of training principle has emerged. Each time (the last was in the early 1960s) it has arisen, research has been regenerated and demonstrated that there are neither general capacities nor general exercise responses. Specificity is one of the strongest response characteristics of exercise adaptation.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Strength training advocates have proposed that excess strength provides a reserve that can be tapped. The research evidence does not support this nor does anecdotal evidence. It is not appropriate (possible?) to create a capacity above that which can be maximally trained in a particular activity.

4. The neural representation that exists in the cortex that dominates the training response. Patterns of movements are what is represented in the brain as a result of training. If there are no patterns then an individual has to respond consciously to exercise, that is, think every movement (the cognitive control of movement). That is what happens with beginners. However, for automated movements, a movement pattern has to be represented so that the pattern is evoked without any cognitive interference. Thus, it is not possible for the highest level of performance to select characteristics from other movements and employ them. This is one reason why the "excess capacity" argument does not work.

1 5


For very high levels of performance to occur, movements have to be strongly and specifically represented in the cerebrum. Without sufficient training to produce an overlearned state, automated and smooth movements will not result. This means that only kicking in swimming in an appropriate manner and with lots of repetition will there develop a good kicking pattern. The problem is do the training activities produce sufficient repetitions of "race-type" kicking? The central feature of all performance is that all movement and movement capacities are neurally controlled. To argue theoretical postulations without including a neural qualifier is a dangerous path. CORRECT PRACTICE Ashy, M. H., Landin, D. K., & Lee, A. M. (1988). Relationship of practice using correct technique to achievement in a motor skill. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 7, 115120.

1. The total number of practice trials was not related to achievement. 2. The total number of correct trials was related to achievement. Implication. Performing practice trials without attention to correct technique does not improve skill acquisition as well as correct performance. The best route for skill enhancement would be to increase the number of properly executed practice trials. When learning, errors and incorrect trials should be minimized. Incorrect trials are a waste of time. MASTERY LEARNING

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

80 fourth-grade students learning soccer skills were assessed for achievement related to correct practice.

Blakemore, C. L., Hilton, H. G., Harrison, J. M., Pellett, T. L., & Gresh, J. (1992). Comparison of students taught basketball skills using mastery and nonmastery learning methods. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 235-247.

Mastery learning is an instructional strategy that embraces the philosophy that almost anyone can learn what is being taught given sufficient time and help. Mastery students receive knowledge about the results of their performance, along with a prescription of corrective or enrichment activities, each time an assessment is made. This study attempted to instruct three basketball skills to seventh-grade boys.

1 6


A control and non-mastery instructional group were compared. Students in the mastery group were not taught new skills until 80% had mastered the skills instructed. The other two groups did not change in individual skill performance. The mastery group performed significantly better on isolated skills than did the other two groups. There was no significant difference between the groups in performance of skills in competitive games. Implication. Goals aimed at mastery improve skills at practice. However, the transfer of those improvements to competitive settings is not likely unless there is considerable similarity between the practice and competition situations. ARIED MOTOR SKILL PRACTICE IS BENEFICIAL FOR BEGINNERS Kerr, R., & Booth, B. (1978). Specific and varied practice of motor skill. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 46, 395-401.

Two groups of 8-12 years-old children (N = 64) performed a novel throwing task. They were measured at the beginning and finish of a 12-week physical education program. 8-years group. The specific practice group performed four blocks of four trials at a distance of three feet. The varied practice group performed two blocks of four trials at distances of two and four feet. The final test was throwing at three feet. 12-years group. The specific group practiced at four feet, the varied at three and five feet. The test was at four feet. Results. There were no differences between the groups initially but at the end the varied practice groups were significantly better. Varied practice enhanced performance over specific practice provided the varied practice encompassed the specific task.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The effect of varied and specific practice on schema formation was studied. Schema theory suggests that an individual can use information from a previous perceptual trace to develop a trace for a new variation of a task.

Implication. For beginners it is helpful to vary the task when they are developing the schema (familiar general strategies) for performing some activity. Fleishman (1957 - see reference below) found that motor ability is initially general but then becomes more specific with practice relative to learning motor skills. Thus, depending upon the stage of learning of a person, the instructional strategy will be determined as to whether it supports or discriminates against skill generalization. This neither supports nor denies transfer of learning effects. Specificity may be due to the skill elements added due to a special experience. One cannot assume that there is a conversion or expansion of the basic motor ability.

1 7


[Fleishman, E. A. (1957). A comparative study of aptitude patterns in unskilled and skilled motor performances. Journal of Applied Psychology, 41, 263-272.] FACTORS IN LEARNING SKILLED BEHAVIORS Abernethy, B. (1991). Acquisition of motor skills. In F. S. Pyke (Ed.), Better Coaching (pp. 6998), Canberra, Australia: Australian Coaching Council.

1. Provide the opportunity for the greatest number of practice-trials-with-feedback possible. 2. Massed practices that lead to high levels of fatigue and performance deterioration, in the long-run, seem to be just as effective for developing skills as well-spaced practice sessions which allow recovery and the maintenance of good practice standards. However, too much excessively massed practice can be detrimental to learning and other factors associated with performance. It would be prudent to err on the side of beneficially spaced practice and recovery opportunities rather than excessive overloading. 3. Varied practice activities contribute to developing a capacity for adaptation to varying competitive demands and conditions. Even in seemingly constant-performance sports (e.g., closed-activities, for example, running, rowing, kayaking) some digression in practice demands are necessary to accommodate the within-competition skill variations (e.g., practicing within the range of paces likely to be experienced, adapting to various competitive conditions such as weather, water conditions, etc.). However, the development of adaptability and response flexibility should not go outside of the activity itself. It would be incorrect to assume that improvements in cycling will somehow transfer to kayaking speed. Even within a sport, it would be incorrect to assume that movement patterns which would never arise in a competitive performance, such as those developed by "drills," contribute to performance improvements. The purpose of varied practice activities and drills should be to allow the athlete to adapt to all conditions and performance variations which could arise in a competitive experience.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The following concepts should govern the structure of skill-development experiences at sport practices.

4. "The more specific the practice or training drills can be to the sport [competitive settings and demands], the more effective they will be in enhancing competitive performances. If transfer of learning from the practice session to the game or competitive situations is to be maximized, the demands of the practice session should mimic as closely as possible the demands of the sport itself (not only in terms of the movement execution requirements but also in terms of the perceptual and decision-making aspects of the performance). . . In general, motor skills are highly specific and transfer of learning between different motor skills is quite small. The best means of enhancing transfer is to maximize the similarity between the practice and competition ('practice as you play'). When practice drills that differ from competition are used the purpose of the drills in

1 8


terms of improved competitive performance should be clearly explained [justified]." (p. 95) 5. When teaching new skills [or altering established skills] it is common practice to break skills into component parts and "build" the movement patterns. This "part-whole" approach is most effective when the skill to be learned is complex and has clearly defined natural breaks or components (e.g., a gymnastics routine). Such an approach to learning [or modification] however, may be of little to no value when the skill is essentially continuous with no natural breaks (such as in running, swimming). 6. Mental practice, when interspersed with physical practice, under some circumstances assists in both immediate and long-term sports performance improvements. Implication. The experiences and dynamics of skills practice differ between sports. The nature of the competitive situation will usually dictate the scope and variations of activities that have to be learned and trained. However, in all sports there is a limitation on the extent of beneficial activities which will affect competitive performances positively. Practice activities would seem to be of questionable value if they cannot be justified on the grounds of direct relevance and transfer potential to competitive tasks and con

Mone, M. A., & Baker, D. D. (1989). Stage of task learning as a moderator of the goalperformance relationship. Human Performance, 2, 85-99.

It was found that specific, difficult goals resulted in higher performance levels than do-your-best goals when assigned to Ss in the middle stages of learning. This is the stage when performance strategies and behavioral patterns are being established. The goals supposedly energize higher levels of application which stimulate a greater learning rate. Implication. When athletes start to learn to focus on multiple elements of performance (e.g., technique items plus strategic determinations) is the time when goal difficulty and expectations should be increased if performance improvements are to be stimulated optimally

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

GOALS SHOULD BE SET AT A PARTICULAR STAGE OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE

BETWEEN TRIALS ACTIVITY Magill, R., & Lee, T. D. (1984, October). Interference during the post-KR interval can enhance learning motor skills. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society of Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology, Kingston, ON.

1 9


Several conditions of post-trial activity were evaluated for effect upon performance. After a learning trial (the "post-knowledge-of-results" interval) Ss were involved in no activity, verbal activity, related motor activity, or unrelated motor activity. Performance was affected by the type of post-trial activity. Performance was either maintained by some form of post-KR activity or superior to when there was no post-KR activity. It was advocated that after a practice trial of a skill, a learner should engage in some activity (not yet determined if that activity should be related or unrelated to the skill) before the next repetition of the skill. Implication. For effective learning to occur between repetitions of learning trials there has to be a minimum amount of time to allow feedback from a trial to produce a learning effect. That effect does not seem to be modified to any great extent if between-trials activity is related or unrelated to what is being learned. This means that it is possible to repeat trials too close together. Such rapidity does not allow the full learning effects from each repetition to occur.

There obviously is too short of a period and too long of a period that can occur between trials where learning is intended. As a further example, when tennis players practice from behind a baseline and stroke at a rate of approximately one every two seconds, it is unlikely that effective learning will occur, that is shot accuracy and technique will not be improved. In that form of practice not only is one type of shot not developed because there are usually a variety of strokes played, but the lack of feedback utilization most probably will result in the player developing more consistency in performing both the good and bad strokes practiced rather than improving in any one class of stroke. It is possible to practice repetitions at too fast a rate to the extent that feedback from one practice trial cannot be used to influence the performance of the next trial. Without that utilization learning will not occur optimally.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

For example, when practicing basketball free throws, after each shot there should be some nonshooting activity (e.g., put the ball down, walk around the circle, recommence the pre-shot routine) before commencing the physical movement in the next trial.

EARLY LEARNING/TRAINING IS NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST Scott, J. P. (1962). Critical periods in behavioral development. Science, 138, 949-958.

Certain periods in the life of young children are marked by times of particular sensitivity. For example, in McGraw's (1935 - see reference below) attempts to modify the behaviors of identical twins by teaching them a number of physical activities, some credence to the "appropriate times for learning" postulation was presented.

2 0


 

The onset of walking was not affected by preemptory practice or help. It is a phylogenetic behavior that is largely "programmed" into the natural developmental timing of the youngster. It cannot be "speeded-up." Roller skating, an unnatural activity but closely allied to walking, developed almost in concert with walking itself. A number of other activities were actually made worse by early practice because of bad skill habits developed or the negative occurrences associated with the learning experience.

Implication. Starting a sporting experience at a very young age is not necessarily advantageous. It would seem that if one was to design development in a sport, the following would be appropriate:

 

Provide a wide variety of activities so that generalized basic gross skills are developed. Pay little attention to skill intricacies, instead being satisfied with gross motor movement patterns. Provide much activity that leads to successful outcomes. Avoid at all costs, the implementation of adult rules and sport dynamics, instead providing activities appropriate for the social, intellectual, and development stages of the participants.

There are critical periods for learning that vary from sport to sport. For each kind of coordinated muscular activity there is an optimum time for rapid and skillful learning. [McGraw, M. B. (1935). Growth: A study of Johnny and Jimmy. New York, NY: AppletonCentury-Crofts.] PERFORMANCE INFORMATION FEEDBACK - A NECESSARY INGREDIENT FOR SKILL LEARNING [Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 55-63)]

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

 

A consequence that is of great importance in the acquisition and maintenance of motor behaviors is information feedback (IF). IF has been defined as information resulting from a response (Fitts and Posner, 1967). The theoretical function of IF in skilled performance is still a matter of dispute. Skinner (1969) has recently suggested that IF should not be used as a synonym for operant reinforcement. Learning theorists, on the other hand, have begun to pay particular attention to the motivational properties of IF (Fitts and Posner, 1967; Anokhin, 1969; E. A. Bilodeau, 1969). A discussion of the feedback/reinforcement properties of performance information is presented in Chapter 10. The reader is encouraged to take this discussion into account when examining the more practical features of IF presented in this section. Coaches and teachers have the power to control at least some features of IF. These features act as secondary reinforcers.

2 1


Theorists are in complete agreement that IF is essential for skilled performance. After reviewing a number of studies that manipulated various sets of feedback factors, Bilodeau concluded the following about the frequency of information feedback. "This appears very clearly in the need for IF in improving and sustaining performance, or in three repeatedly demonstrated empirical effects: performance fails to improve unless IF is introduced; performance improves with IF; and performance either deteriorates if IF is withdrawn, or shows no further improvement." (I. McD. Bilodeau, 1969, p. 260.) Such a conclusion is, in itself, of importance to physical educators as it suggests that learning environments in sport and physical education can be improved by focusing on the frequency and clarity of IF.

There are two main types of IF: intrinsic and artificial. Intrinsic IF refers to information that is inherent in a task. In tennis, for example, the lines on the court provide information as to whether a shot was good. The net and markings of the service area provide information as to the efficacy of a serve. The primary role of intrinsic feedback is that it allows the performer to evaluate a response. It provides a frame of reference so that errors in response can be detected and attempts made to correct them. It is this discrepancy (error) between the actual response and the desired response that acts as input for the next response, and it is in this sense that theorists talk about feedback loops. It is obvious that some sports activities provide a great deal of intrinsic evaluative feedback. This is true of tennis, bowling, badminton, and golf for example. Others such as track running events, swimming, and dance provide very little. Intrinsic IF refers also to the normal organic sensations which occur during and following a physical performance. These sensations arise through kinesthetic stimulation and provide cues about the rate and location of movements. They are important for attempts at replicating successful responses. Typically, when a response achieves a desired end the performer attempts to "do the same again." Kinesthetic IF provides cues which indicate to the performer the amount and type of movement that has been performed.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

A variety of descriptions exist about the forms of IF derived from performance of a skilled act. For purposes of this text, IF will be categorized using the framework suggested by Holding (1965).

Although kinesthetic IF is an important variable in most motor learning theories it is difficult for the teacher or coach to use. It is potentially available through manual manipulation of the performer by the teacher. When the limbs and bodily positions of a performer can be manipulated by the teacher, some form of kinesthetic IF is produced. The idea, quite simply, is to have the learner experience the "feel" of proper form. Beginning swimmers can be handled in the initial stages by having the instructor rotate their arms, turn their heads for breathing, hold them in a horizontal floating position, and move their legs in a flutter kick. Young children who lack the facility for verbal comprehension are also aided through manual manipulation. Lawther (1968) suggested that this is also a useful technique when instructing aged or handicapped performers.

2 2


Certain kinds of training devices also create situations in which a learner may experience the kinesthetic feedback associated with an acceptable form of movement. The safety belt in gymnastics allows the learner to experience the kinesthetic IF from rotary movement without the fear of disastrous consequences. Basketball teachers have for years used "blinders" as an aid to teaching higher levels of skill in dribbling. The blinders prevent the learner from looking down, thus minimizing the visual IF of seeing the hand control the ball. With the visual IF minimized, the learner is forced to attend to the kinesthetic IF, thus developing the ability to dribble by "touch." Manual manipulation is obviously of limited usefulness simply because only one performer can be manipulated at a time, thus making the technique inefficient in terms of time-cost. It seems to be most useful with normal learners when other methods have been attempted and have not produced the desired results. Training devices which require the performer to approximate a desired topography (form) offer a much more fruitful approach to the problem of kinesthetic IF. It should be hoped that physical educators will experiment with various kinds of training devices especially in those activities where the amount of intrinsic evaluative IF is minimal.

1. the activity is graded into developmental steps, 2. each step provides successful execution, and 3. each step more closely approximates the final action. These features will be discussed more fully in Chapter 7. [See sections on "shaping" in this issue of Coaching Science Abstracts.] Artificial IF refers to information that is not usually available in the performance of a task. This is extra information that is added by the teacher for training purposes. It is also often referred to as augmented feedback. The most common form of artificial IF is evaluative comments by an instructor. Whenever a teacher or coach suggests a change in form or comments on a particular response, the information provided comes under the classification of artificial IF. While being of importance in many teaching situations, the limitations of verbal IF are obvious. Feedback can be supplied to only one learner at a time and the teacher's attention must be focused on the one learner for a minimal period of time in order to evaluate the performance.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Practices already exist in coaching and teaching skills which can provide the performer with a "feel" for a particular action. This "feel" refers to the kind of kinesthetic IF which is associated with the final desired level of skill. The method for providing this IF has several characteristics:

The potential importance of artificial IF for teaching in physical education and sports is in finding ways of providing extra performance information to many learners during or immediately after their performances. As such, the use of pacing machines, ergometers, metering devices, and other evaluative tools merits a great deal of investigation. Results of research dealing with the effectiveness of artificial IF have not been too encouraging. Many studies find that performance is increased while the artificial IF is present but deteriorates once it is removed (E. A. Bilodeau, 1969). This kind of result has been particularly prominent in motor skills research. Research in other fields has yielded more optimistic results for the

2 3


potential of artificial IF (Collier, 1971). Holding (1965) has spoken quite succinctly to the problem of the permanency of IF. The difficulty about putting in artificial knowledge of results is that its effects may not last after its removal. Eventually the learner must come to rely upon the intrinsic cues. There is no point in learning to rely upon information which will not be there when training is finished. The success of techniques of augmenting feedback will depend upon whether they call attention to the intrinsic cues or make possible control of the relevant responses in a way which can later be taken over by the intrinsic cues.

A second level at which IF types may be categorized is concurrent or terminal. Concurrent IF refers to information that is available during the performance of a task, that is, while a response is being made. Intrinsic kinesthetic IF is of the concurrent variety as is the information provided by the speedometer on a car or the self-monitoring of the pace of a runner by a clock that is always within the visual field. Terminal IF refers to information that arises as a result of a completed response. It is often referred to as knowledge of results (KR). Arrows in a target and the success or failure of a jump shot are examples of terminal IF. It would appear that terminal IF is of great importance for the learning of individual skills such as the volleyball serve, tennis forehand, or football punt. Research has been quite consistent in revealing that terminal IF is not only important to the learning process, but, indeed, is a necessary condition for any learning to occur. It would be beneficial if the higher performances developed with concurrent, artificial IF could be maintained after the training period. It would appear that the best method by which to accomplish this would be to gradually transfer control of the behavior from the artificial source to the intrinsic IF source in a manner similar to the procedure known as stimulus fading. Siedentop (in press) attempted to do this when having subjects learn to walk at a particular pace around an oval course. The "fade" group started out with full concurrent artificial IF, that is, the elapsed time from the start of each trial was communicated verbally to them. The frequency of the artificial verbal IF was gradually reduced until during the final training sessions the subjects received only terminal IF. Throughout the training period the faded IF was sufficient to maintain a very high level of performance, but during the transfer sessions when no IF was available this group did not perform as well as another group that had been trained under terminal IF conditions. This study demonstrated the difficulty of transferring artificial KR control to intrinsic IF cues. Methods need to be found for doing this. It seems to be possible in some situations (Rushall, 1970) but difficult in others.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

It appears that the task of the teacher and coach is to find forms of artificial IF that will increase performance during training and allow for transfer to intrinsic IF sources which will in turn maintain performance at high levels after training. The operant strategies that follow in later chapters address this problem directly.

A third level of categorization of IF should be mentioned briefly. This is immediate or delayed IF. With animal subjects IF must be reasonably immediate for learning to occur, but with human subjects terminal IF can be delayed somewhat without hindering the acquisition of skill (Annett, 1969). The same is not true, however, for concurrent feedback. Any recognizable delay in

2 4


concurrent feedback virtually destroys the subject's ability to perform. This phenomenon is most dramatically displayed in experiments dealing with delay of concurrent feedback in speech. In such an experiment the performer most often stutters, slurs words, and acts generally as if inebriated (Lee, 1950).

It is the task of the teacher and coach to apply the results of research intelligently and creatively. In many present situations in physical education and sports the level of IF is notoriously low, especially when one considers its basic importance in the learning process. Some activities do provide instant results. A jump shot is either successful or unsuccessful. The shooter is even able to see if his attempts are more closely approximating success. A golfer receives rather clear IF as does the archer, place-kicker, and bowler. Activities which are tests of accuracy generally provide enough IF for an individual to improve considerably over time without the aid of a coach. The reinforcement (IF and self-evaluated improvement) gained from performance is sufficient to maintain the practice behavior of an individual for long periods of time. Likewise, it is generally not difficult to get students and athletes to practice activities which provide this kind of evaluative intrinsic IF. Although this kind of trial-and-error learning is made possible because of the intrinsic IF, it is most certainly not an optimal learning environment. The golfer may hit the fairway with his drive on one hole and slice badly on the next. It is difficult for him to learn why the one shot was successful and the other not. Through repeated attempts to reproduce the movement pattern associated with the correct drive he may develop a more consistent, acceptable performance. On the other hand, he may not. For one thing, the learner in this situation gets no IF about his form (topography). For him to systematically attempt to change the topography of his response without outside aid is virtually impossible. He needs the helpful comments of an instructor and/or the visual evaluative IF supplied by a videotape replay of his swing. Coaches and teachers perform a vital role in developing the topography of behavior.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Although there has been much research done in the area of feedback during the past decade many questions remain unanswered and a great deal of creative work must be done in applying the results of feedback research to the teaching of sports skills. Most importantly, what is known is that improvements in performance are directly related to the availability of IF, and when IF is removed performance most often deteriorates. It is also obvious that artificial IF will be important to the degree that it calls attention to intrinsic IF that will maintain the performance level after the artificial IF has been removed. There is also still much to be learned about the effects of different amounts and specificities of IF.

Another problem occurs with young learners. The fact is that good results for a beginner may not always shape a response that will be useful in the long-run. The young basketball player may have to adopt a rather unique form in order to generate enough force to shoot the ball up to a 10foot-high basket. In a trial-and-error situation the intrinsic IF (making or missing the shot) for this youngster might shape a response that will not be very useful when he gets older and wants to compete at higher levels of skill. In such situations there are two possible solutions. The first would be to adapt the learning environment to the developmental level of the learner so that the IF would shape responses which are more nearly acceptable, that is, lower the basket and use a smaller ball. The second would be to have the learner ignore the IF and concentrate on some

2 5


other source of IF. The latter solution does not seem promising because results are usually strong secondary reinforcers. There are also a great many activities which call for long periods of training but do not have much intrinsic evaluative IF. Swimming, track running, and rowing are examples of such activities. In the sheer repetitive training situation, performers need some kind of artificial IF (usually standards of some type) to control and evaluate their performances. The cross-country runner will not improve as quickly as he/she should if he/she is simply told to run 6 miles for practice and is not provided with any IF about the standard of performance.

Consider the track runner who is told to run with a lower arm carry and to try that new technique for a certain distance. The athlete then attempts to perform what he/she thinks is the correct interpretation of the coach's instructions. In the meantime, the coach has turned attention to another athlete while the practicing athlete receives no IF about performance of the new technique. This kind of minor change in technique can be accomplished quickly if IF is available at all times during the initial period of change and intermittently thereafter (see Chapter 7). Learners in a physical education class usually get even less IF due to the large numbers in such classes. Take, for example, the common situation in which the teacher instructs the class as a whole on how to execute a skill such as the backhand drive in tennis. Students are then dispersed over a wide area to practice what they have just "learned." The usual result is that a variety of techniques is displayed by the students and many fail to change in the desired direction during the time spent in class. This is due primarily to the inadequate level of IF available to the learners. Many students adopt strategies that, while affording them some immediate success, prevent them from ever developing the desired level of skill. This happens quite simply because the only IF available to them is the intrinsic KR of whether the shot goes over the net and stays within the boundaries of the court. They tend to adopt strategies that bring about this desired result even if such strategies are not in the direction of the model provided by the instructor. A further problem is created in these situations because once an inappropriate strategy is learned it becomes resistant to change. A great deal of investigation is needed to develop new kinds of IF systems and techniques that will be useful for large group instruction. It is obvious that the teacher or coach cannot develop an efficient learning environment if he is the only source of artificial IF.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The problem is even more acute when one considers skill learning rather than work output. Suppose, for example, that a swimming coach attempting to make a slight change in technique, tells the swimmer to push back further at the end of the freestyle arm pull. The swimmer then swims to the other end of the pool executing perhaps 30 responses but receiving no artificial IF about the success of attempts. This is an inefficient use of time, is potentially harmful to the swimmer's performance if done incorrectly, and violates a basic principle of learning. The coach should have devised some method which provided information about the success or failure of each swim stroke. Unfortunately, the situation is rather typical of attempts to change behavior in physical education and sport.

An example of the effective use of IF was given by Rushall (1970). The task was to change certain aspects of the technique of a highly skilled swimmer. As has already been mentioned, the

2 6


Another instance can be cited in rowing, where coaches for some time have used megaphones and microphone systems to provide IF to athletes while they are performing. In this case the system was automated one step further. The speed of the boat was monitored by a sensing device attached to it. When the boat achieved a desired speed, a bell was sounded for a short period during each stroke. The boat speed was calculated to be fast enough to win a race and the device was set. The task for the oarsmen was quite simply to keep the bell ringing. Under these conditions the crew rowed faster than they ever had before, even in competition. When the artificial IF was removed, however, the performance returned to previous levels. Evidently the artificial IF had been such that it did not allow for transfer to intrinsic IF sources. For performance tasks in which the evaluative criteria are fairly simple, automated IF systems will maximize the efficiency of the learning environment. If, for example, force is the desired goal for football lineman in blocking, then accurate, reliable, and immediate IF can be provided by rigging a force plate to a blocking sled. With such a device, practice behaviors could be controlled and new techniques could be learned more quickly. It is much more difficult to automate IF systems for skills in which the evaluative criteria are more complex. The task of coaching techniques and skills is difficult to evaluate mechanically. The coach is the one who decides whether each repetition of an operant is correct. Even with this limitation, however, the mode of communicating IF should not be difficult to develop. In this case it is the system by which the IF is administered that is important. It must always be kept in mind that changes in behavior are brought about through the consistency and frequency of the IF-reinforcer.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

difficulty with such a learning task is finding a method by which IF can be made contingent on each response of the learner. Since the intrinsic IF in swimming is not nearly precise enough to bring about the desired changes, some form of artificial IF was necessary. A simple, adequate device for providing IF was a direct-light beam flashlight that was portable and hand-operated. A precurrent training session established the absence of the light as the signal that the new technique was being correctly executed. The presence of the light, on the other hand, indicated an error. The subject in this case was swimming the butterfly stroke. It was possible to stand at one end of the pool and direct the light beam at the swimmer's eyes so that on every breathing phase the swimmer received IF. If three consecutive incorrect responses (stroke cycles) were made, the swimmer stopped for further instruction. In this manner the new techniques were shaped rather quickly. Many repetitions of an undesired response were avoided. Interestingly, this method of providing artificial IF also allowed the swimmer to learn the intrinsic IF cues that were associated with the new techniques. Because of this the swimmer's improved performance continued after the artificial IF was removed.

The theoretical differences between the concepts of information feedback and reinforcement are difficult to sort out and these have been treated separately in Chapter 10. What is important to recognize here is that in many cases peculiar to sports and physical education IF is the most effective secondary reinforcer available for the maintenance and development of skilled behaviors. Many learning and training environments could be vastly improved by paying particular attention to the amount, specificity, and frequency of the IF available to the individual performer.

2 7


1. Annett, J. (1969). Feedback and human behavior. Baltimore, MD: Penguin. 2. Anokhin, P. K. (1969). Cybernetics and the integrative activity of the brain. In M. Cole (Ed.), A handbook of contemporary Soviet psychology. New York, NY: Basic. 3. Bilodeau, E. A. (1969). Supplementary feedback and instructions. In E. A. Bilodeau (Ed.), Principles of skill acquisition. New York, NY: Academic. 4. Bilodeau, I. McD. (1969). Information feedback. In E. A. Bilodeau (Ed.), Principles of skill acquisition. New York, NY: Academic. 5. Collier, R. L. (1971, April). Brain power, the case for biofeedback training. Saturday Review, 10 April, 10-13, 58. 6. Fitts, P. M, & Posner, M. I. (1967). Human performance. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. 7. Holding, D. H. (1965). Principles of training. Oxford, England: Pergamon. 8. Lawther, J. (1968). The learning of physical skills. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 9. Lee, B. S. (1950). Effects of delayed speech feedback. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 22, 824-826. 10. Rushall, B. S. (1970). Some applications of psychology to swimming. Swimming Technique, 7, 71-82. 11. Siedentop, D. (in press). Effects of faded feedback on acquisition of a pacing skill. Unpublished paper, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. 12. Skinner, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement. New York, NY: AppletonCentury-Crofts. FEEDBACK AND REINFORCEMENT [Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 204-207).]

A golfer finds that a putt breaks sharply to the right as it approaches the hole. A college freshman participating in a psychology experiment attempts to draw an 18-inch line and is told by the experimenter that it was three inches short. A laboratory animal is given a food pellet for pressing a lever only when a certain amount of time has elapsed since it last pressed the lever. A driver glances at his speedometer and finds that he/she is going 12 miles per hour over the speed limit. These are four examples of the results of responses; a missed putt, a line three inches short, a food pellet, and a speedometer that reads 12 miles per hour over a speed limit. In each case, it is reasonable to assume that more trials under similar conditions would result in performance changes that could be described as learning. The golfer learns to "read" the green; the psychology student learns to draw an 18-inch line; the pigeon learns to respond at a low rate (drl); and the driver learns either the feel of traveling at 35 miles per hour or to watch his speedometer more closely.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

References

How can these behavioral processes be explained? The results obviously play the crucial role (see the treatment of "Performance Information" in Chapter 4), but are they more profitably viewed as feedback or reinforcement? Are the two separable? Most practitioners and researchers

2 8


in motor learning would favor a feedback view of human behavior. Like John Annett, in Feedback and Human Behavior, they would support the view that a feedback model is more directly applicable and relevant to motor skills training than is a reinforcement model. Research in motor learning has a long and substantial history in this century (see Chapter 2). Some of the research was generated from a Hullian drive-reduction reinforcement model, but recently the shift in theoretical emphasis has been clearly toward an information model of human behavior in which feedback is the central experimental variable. Feedback is most often defined as the error detected in a comparison between a response (R1) and a standard. Feedback becomes input for the next response (R2), and R2 is modified on the basis of the feedback from R1.

The feedback and reinforcement literature itself shows that the issue had inevitably to be raised. E. A. Bilodeau (1966) suggested that theories of motor performance could not survive forever without an anchor in motivational theory and research. However, he also spoke of the lack of popularity among motor learning theorists of conditioning analyses of verbal and motor skills learning. More recently Skinner (1969) suggested that feedback had been widely misused as a synonym for operant reinforcement. At other times, however, Skinner has talked about reinforcement as control over changes in the environment and made it sound very much like a feedback variable. Children play for hours with mechanical toys, paints, scissors and paper, noise-makers, puzzlesin short, with almost anything which feeds back significant changes in the environment and is reasonably free of aversive properties. The sheer control of nature is in itself reinforcing (Skinner, 1968, p. 20). It is tempting to simply suggest that feedback is a secondary reinforcer. There is no doubt that feedback does act as a secondary reinforcer, and this is essentially the position adopted earlier in this text. However, the two constructs -- feedback and reinforcement -- have developed from entirely different theoretical frameworks, and it would be a mistake at this point in time to argue that they are synonyms. It is also going too far, as Sage (1971) recently suggested, to call Skinner a feedback theorist. Current levels of investigation allow one to say no more than that events normally described as feedback also possess reinforcing qualities and events normally described as reinforcers also possess informational qualities. This is the position adopted by Ammons (1956) and Holding (1965).

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

During the past 20 years feedback theory and operant conditioning have flourished side by side with little contact between the two. Recently, operant conditioning has generated a significant technology that can account for behavior change in a number of varied human situations. While there are some interesting, if primarily academic differences between the models, the central issue seems to be the question of motivation.

Feedback theorists most often point to two types of research results which seem to be in conflict with operant conditioning theory. The first is the scheduling of feedback where research indicates rather clearly that performance changes are a function of the absolute rather than the relative frequency of IF (Bilodeau & Bilodeau, 1958; Larre, 1961). Such results seem to conflict with the effects generally attributed to intermittent reinforcement. A second area of research that

2 9


conflicts with operant psychology is in the delay of IF. Again, there appears to be ample evidence to suggest that delays in IF do not hinder the learning process (Bilodeau & Bilodeau, 1958; 1969), whereas delays in reinforcement are considered to detract from the possibility of behavior change. Some of the conflict in research results between the two concepts is due to the inappropriateness of applying a variable from one model in an experimental design generated from the other model. In operant psychology rate of emission of behavior is almost always the dependent variable. Feedback research, on the other hand, uses magnitude of response as its dependent variable. Schedules of reinforcement are studied in terms of their effects on the response pattern of already learned behavior. Feedback research has tried to use scheduling as an independent variable in behavior acquisition studies. This is not to suggest that there are no differences. Future research, if designed to investigate the differences rather than to prove one position or another, hopefully will clarify the issue.

1. the number of reinforcers it has been paired with; e.g., peer approval, parental affection, etc., 2. the number of pairings, for example, how important is it that the individual improve his performance, and 3. the strength of the individual reinforcers with which it has been paired, for example, if peer approval is a very strong reinforcer for a given individual and it has been paired with improvement in a sport skill then the IF from the sport skill will be a fairly strong secondary reinforcer. To view IF as possessing secondary reinforcing power allows one to utilize the entire operant framework to understand motivation in the learning and performing of sport skills. Without the operant framework, however, the motivational question in learning motor skill remains unanswered. Annett (1969) suggested that motivation is "feedback in action." He dichotomizes motivation into energizing and directional components and suggests that the "power," "standard," and "error signal" are all necessary for motivated performance. Annett takes the position that pay for piecework in a factory is feedback, but as feedback its primary role is to release corrective action and, "it may not matter very much if this information is signaled in pennies, dollars, pounds, or 'grubs' " (Annett, 1969, p. 121). One wonders how an automobile manufacturer would do by providing "feedback" to his workers with a weekly "grubcheck" instead of a paycheck. It is at this point that feedback theorists have a difficult time explaining motivation. Within an operant framework the analysis would, of course, be quite direct and straightforward.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Performance information does have secondary reinforcing power, and the strength of IF as a reinforcer depends upon:

Adams (1971), in a more recent feedback theory of motor behavior, suggested that error is motivating. This may be true in some instances, but the analysis does not go far enough. Why is error, a missed shot for a basketball player for example, more motivating for one person than it is for another? Why do some people persist longer in the face of performance errors? From an

3 0


operant framework the answers are easily drawn in terms of the strength and scheduling of the secondary reinforcer, but from a feedback point of view they are not so easily answered. One also must recognize that too great an error or too many errors would no doubt act as a negative reinforcer and decrease responding in the particular situation within which the errors were made. One must conclude that Bilodeau's (1966) earlier statement has not yet been fully answered and that feedback theory is still a long way from being able to answer problems in motivation.

1. Adams, J. (1971). A closed loop theory of motor learning. Journal of Motor Behavior, 3, 111-150. 2. Ammons, R. B. (1956). Effects of knowledge of performance: A survey and tentative theoretical formulation. Journal of General Psychology, 54, 279. 3. Annett, J. (1969). Feedback and human behavior. Baltimore, MD: Penguin. 4. Bilodeau, E. A. (1966). Supplementary feedback and instructions. In E. A. Bilodeau (Ed.), Acquisition of skill. New York, NY: Academic. 5. Bilodeau, E. A., & Bilodeau, I. McD. (1958). Variable frequency of knowledge of results and the learning of a simple skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55, 379-383. 6. Bilodeau, E. A., & Bilodeau, I. McD. (1969). Principles of skill acquisition. New York, NY: Academic. 7. Holding, D. H. (1965). Principles of training. Oxford, England: Pergamon. 8. Larre, E. E. (1961). Interpolated activity before and after knowledge of results. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Tulane University. 9. Sage, G. (1971). Introduction to motor behavior: A neurophysiological approach. Reading, PA: Addison-Wesley. 10. Skinner, B. F. (1968). The technology of teaching. New York, NY: Appleton-CenturyCrofts. 11. Skinner, B. F. (1969). Contingencies of reinforcement. New York, NY: AppletonCentury-Crofts. 12. RESPONSE AND MOVEMENT QUICKNESS CAN BE TAUGHT 13. Singer, R. N., & Cauraugh, J. H. (1994). Training mental quickness in beginning and intermediate tennis players. The Sport Psychologist, 8, 305-318. 14. 15. Beginner level (undergraduates) tennis players (N = 34) were tested in three tennis situations in a motor learning laboratory and on the court. Ss were divided into two groups: a control group and the other being given supplementary training in mental quickness. Laboratory testing consisted of evaluating direction and type of serves and ground strokes, game situation decisions, and speed and agility reactions to light cues. 16. It was shown that anticipatory skills can be enhanced by appropriate training methods. Speed and accuracy of decisions improved. Only predicting an opponent's ground stroke was not enhanced. 17. Implication. Response times and mechanisms at practice can be improved. Training in an off-court setting can improve beginners. While many studies have shown training procedures for beginners to be inappropriate for advanced and trained individuals, it would not be appropriate to propose this type of training for advanced individuals until its effectiveness has been demonstrated for that population.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

References

3 1


‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

18. AGE-GROUP SKILL DEVELOPMENT 19. Numminen, P., & Saakslahti, A. (1996, October). Gender differences - Are they dominant already in the early years? AIESEP Newsletter, 53, 4. 20. 21. Gender differences among 6- to 8-year-old children reveal that boys are better in skills needing speed, muscular strength, and endurance while girls are better in motor skills needing balance and flexibility. The purpose of this study was to assess whether gender differences already exist in 3 and 4-year-old children and if so, which skills revealed the differences. 22. Boys (N = 50) and girls (N = 55) were compared on a number of standardized skill tests (APM-test battery: Numminen, P. (1995). Alle kouluikaisten lasten havaintomotorisia ja motorisia perustaitoja mittaavan APM-testiston kasikirja. Jyvaskyla, LIKES, 98.) 23. Hardly any gender differences in fundamental motor skills studied were revealed. The boys seemed to score better, similarly to the older children, in skills demanding strength and precision and the girls better in balance, timing, and body control. 24. Implication. Although no gender differences were revealed in the cross-sectional investigation there is a hint that differences could be emerging in this age group. A longitudinal-study needs to be conducted to see if this development is phylogenetic or socially learned. 25. Return to Table of Contents for this issue. 26. TIME TO START LEARNING TO SWIM 27. Blanksby, B. A., Parker, H. E., Bradley, S., & Ong, S. (1995). Children's readiness for learning front crawl swimming. The Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 27(2), 34-37. 28. 29. Very young children (M = 180; F = 146) who participated in learn-to-swim programs were evaluated for number of lessons, age of starting lessons, and time to learn to swim 10 m front crawl (Level 3). Children older than 5 yr. were not considered. 30. To achieve the crawl stroke standard, children who started as 5 year-olds experienced significantly fewer number of lessons and took shorter time than those who started at younger ages. No matter what age younger children commenced lessons they eventually achieved the Level 3 standard at the same age (5.5 yr.). There were no significant gender differences for the three variables. 31. Implication. The optimum age for learning to swim crawl stroke among very young children is between 5 and 6 years of age. However, since older children were not evaluated in this study it is not known whether this age is the absolute best age to commence formal swimming instruction. PRACTICING FOR SPORTS - MIND IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MATTER Brent S. Rushall (1997), a response to a question posed by Mr. Alan Roaf, Executive-director, Rowing Canada.

3 2


If one was to study for a degree in kinesiology, attend a coaches' clinic, or hear most sport scientists talking about improving elite athletes, usually talk will be predominantly about training (conditioning). Thresholds of various types, workloads, number of repetitions, and in-depth explanations of the physiological responses to exercise abound and dominate discussions. One could deduce from this emphasis that physical conditioning is the most important factor in determining elite performances. But is it? At the Pre-Olympic Scientific Congress in Eugene, Oregon in 1984, it was the multiple Olympic Gold medalist and physiologist Dr. Peter Snell who opined that when athletes line up for an Olympic final their conditioned states will not discriminate them. Factors other than conditioning will cause one athlete to win over another. Could this be heresy? Why do most coaches still exaggerate the importance of physical conditioning as being the major secret for success at the elite level? The emphasis on physiological testing with national teams would suggest that sport scientists also attribute pre-eminent causality to physical conditioning for elite sporting success. If physical conditioning is not the most influential aspect of sport training then it is the area of sports science that is most popularly emphasized by practitioners and scientists alike. For most people that would be enough. Monkey see, monkey do, and since many monkeys do it must be right; conditioning is the key to success.

The literature contains many studies about the physiology of sport and several generalizations are possible. Below are some of the things that are known about conditioning in sports. 1. In very unfit individuals any conditioning will produce changes in physiological variables up to a certain level of performance competency. 2. Beyond moderate performance competency only specialized conditioning will produce further performance improvements. 3. The body will become conditioned to the activity that is practiced (e.g., running on the flat does not condition one for hill running). 4. Despite extensive testing of elite athletes, measures of physiological capacities only discriminate between athletes of wide ability ranges. They do not discriminate between a relatively homogeneous group of elite athletes in the same sport. 5. An athlete can become so fit and no fitter, that is, an hereditarily defined ceiling level of physical capacity exists in all individuals. After maturation, no manner of training will change those levels. 6. There is a hint in the literature that physical conditioning during growth will extend the capacities of children and adolescents when compared to control groups. It is not known whether the usually inactive controls regress and thus make the trained individuals look better by comparison or whether the trained individuals actually have their natural abilities embellished. 7. The time to reach peak fitness is relatively short. Some have claimed four weeks for anaerobic adaptation and three months for aerobic adaptation. In mature individuals those times are even shorter. There are many modifying variables, such as initial level of fitness, which will alter any time estimate. However, to this writer's mind it seems that

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

But is there another side to this one-sided approach to modern sport? Could there be other things that need emphasizing to produce a champion as Dr. Snell suggested?

3 3


‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

most national coaches think it takes 12 months to achieve maximum fitness which, of course, is incorrect. 8. It is possible for an individual to improve in fitness, as usually revealed by physiology tests, while performances do not change or even get worse. That phenomenon alone should indicate the lack of relationship between a fitness-test state and important performance. 9. Because of physiological and capacity differences, the physical training of maturing individuals, men, and women need to differ. 10. Fitness achieved in one activity will have, at most, a minimum amount of transfer to another activity. The popular notion of "cross training" is a hoax and an embarrassing collective display of misunderstanding. For example, it has been clearly shown that strength gains in one activity cannot be "re-educated" into another activity. This lack of "potential" transfer is supported by evidence in the physiological and motor learning literature. 11. Training on activities that are unrelated to an intended competitive performance results in maladaptation and coaches who emphasize such programs should be charged with "malpractice." 12. An athlete must be specifically fit to achieve a peak personal-best performance. 13. Attempting to achieve "super" or "excess" levels of fitness for a sport which does not require the accommodation of extreme fatigue is inappropriate and diminishes the resources that could be applied by an athlete to more important aspects of training for the sport. 14. Exercise and hard-work is catabolic, rest and recovery is anabolic. Emphasizing working hard at the expense of post-training-session recovery is destructive to an athlete's wellbeing and suppresses improvement. 15. Current classifications of training are meaningless. Discrete classifications which give the appearance of precision are bogus. Research has shown that within a group of athletes, the nature of responses to a particular aerobic stimulus produces all forms of adaptation plus has no affect in some. Training in "zones," at heart rate levels to produce a particular training effect, etc. are delusional justifications for practice content. The general emergence of specific adaptations is not supported in empirical studies. 16. The overload, specificity, and recovery principles are paramount in the physical conditioning of elite athletes. 17. More training effort and volume is required to change a fitness state than to maintain one. 18. As a corollary to #17, fitness is not necessarily lost in a very short time. 19. Too much training, whether specific or non-specific, is harmful. There are other generalizations similar to these which could be stated. A problem with them, as with those above, is they are correct but contradict much "modern" training theory and conditioning practice at the highest level, particularly in the sports of rowing and swimming. There is no doubt that physiological changes result from extensive conditioning, BUT THOSE ARE NOT THE ONLY CHANGES OR MECHANISMS INVOLVED IN THE TRAINING RESPONSE.

3 4


Many features of initial "physiological adaptation" are actually adaptations by the central nervous system (CNS) to use existing resources better. No physiological changes happen but improved performances and athlete reports of increased well-being commonly occur. For example, as much as nine percent of endurance capacity increase is due to the trainability of the respiratory muscles. Those muscles do not change immediately in a physiological sense because their initial adaptation is neural. Recent research has suggested that an average of nine exposures to an aerobic overload are required before the load should be altered to the next step increase. So if the physiology is not or is hardly changing, it must be the CNS which is adapting to produce better skill of breathing, more economical leverage, etc.

The proposal being presented here is that it is the CNS adapting to exercise and using already existing resources that constitutes most fitness and performance improvements in highperformance athletes. When mitochondria multiply and capillarization increases to maximum levels further training does not continue to increase these mechanisms. There is a caveat to the former paragraph. In March of 1996, a group of USOC physiologists reported that the US Men's Rowing Eight was still adapting aerobically in their training. This improvement was not reflected in the US boat's continued decline in performance in international races. An alternative explanation for these observed improvements was that the athletes were demonstrating a training effect on the ergometer test being used, an activity unrelated to the level of performance being aspired to by the rowers in their boat. They were getting better at the testing activity but unfortunately, that had very little relevance to the matter at hand which was to row a boat fast. It is possible that in many physiological testing programs "improvements" are test-activity improvements and not real competition-relevant improvements. This possibility is supported by the low predictive validity of physiological tests for high performance levels.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

It has long been recognized that in the strength training response the onset of hypertrophy requires anywhere from four to six weeks of intensive training. But by that time almost 100% of strength gains in an exercise are achieved. It is the CNS adaptation which produces the change. The athlete has used existing resources and refined the SKILL of the exercise to produce the strength change. Even when the physiological changes associated with long-duration and intense strength training programs become evident, strength performances only improve marginally more.

The physical stimulus of fatigue (overload) will cause physiological responses in some individuals. If an athlete is not conditioned to his/her ceiling level, the mitochondria, aerobic capacity, thresholds, etc. could all change ("improve"). However, those changes are indiscriminate. They will occur whether the technique of the sport is good or bad. There is little doubt that after a full year of college rowing that a boat that finishes a minute behind a champion is likely to be as fit as the winner, but their skill levels most probably would be very different. So capillaries will grow, mitochondria will increase, red blood cells will increase in number, and plasma volume will increase whether a crew/swimmer/cyclist/runner has good or poor technique. If one will accept a big assumptive step it is advocated that fitness without good technique is wasted fitness. Thus, a skilled athlete who is energized by maximum fitness will always beat a

3 5


more poorly skilled athlete who is also energized by maximum fitness. SKILL BECOMES A DISCRIMINATING FACTOR IN HIGH LEVEL PERFORMANCE. What is it that governs skill? It is the CNS and the representation of movements in the brain. Thus, training hard and diligently without the neural patterns that govern good competitionappropriate skill is a relatively futile pursuit. The modifier of this proposal is that most coaches should know good from bad skill and how to produce those desirable techniques. THAT IS A BIG STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION! In some sports, understanding of technique is so poor that performances are actually regressing and "improvements" generally come only from rule changes. The sport of swimming comes to mind. Only one freestyle event at the Atlanta Olympic Games surpassed the performances registered four years earlier in Barcelona. The four extra years of practice between the two Games had only caused performers to regress, not improve. There must have been a lot of practice that was not particularly beneficial.

The representation of movements in the brain is different between beginners and elite athletes. Beginners use "schema" to cognitively control their way through a performance. By contrast, elite athletes want movements to be automated and not involve "conscious effort." If that is true, then the research that was prevalent more than 50 years ago still holds true today. Movement patterns are represented in the brain of individuals when automated performances occur. The automated movement patterns are invoked, the muscles and levers of the body respond, the energy systems fuel the exercise, while the athlete thinks of strategy and the cognitive demands of the competition. Thus, AUTOMATED NEURAL CONTROL IS PARAMOUNT FOR A HIGH-LEVEL PERFORMANCE. Few coaches realize just how exquisite discriminated movements can be. They differ at the fiber level, the synchronization of sequences, patterns of stimulation, etc. A performance at 90% effort is to all intents and purposes totally foreign to a 100% effort in the same "activity" (they really are not the same activity but very different and discrete exercises). Rowing and swimming coaches commonly prescribe work at percentages of race-pace speeds with a resulting lack of appropriateness and benefit being obvious.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The essential thesis of this discussion is that the brain's movement representations must guide physiological work in a beneficial and efficient manner for valuable gains to be achieved through practice. Much emphasized practice that is uneconomical can be wasted practice. A case could be made that if uneconomical or maladaptive practice is stressed enough then the competing dominance of the conditioned strength of the competition-inappropriate neural patterns (movement representations) will inhibit more economical and better forms of performance.

Enough! Training responses are initiated, determined, and dictated by the brain. Without attention to the control of thought processes, which have not even been considered in this treatise, or attention to the encoding of exact movement patterns, many athletes will be trained inappropriately. Fitness is good. Fitness is necessary. But it is only valuable for athletic performance when it is developed in concert with mechanically efficient movement patterns which are encoded to high levels of automaticity in the athlete's brain.

3 6


Training for fitness alone is likely to yield maladaptation. Training to energize the repetitive performance of good movement patterns is likely to yield rewarding improvements and in those with ability, performance excellence. As implied above, a complicating factor is whether swimming and rowing coaches know what are good movement patterns. The implication for coaching? When performance, such as swimming or boat speed is important, if athletes are not rowing or swimming with good technique, stop them, give them a rest, and start again with good technique. That technique has to be specific to the desired competitive speed. This proposal does not state that there is no place in training for work other than race-pace specific work. Specific work is necessary to achieve high levels of performance and often, performance improvements. Training at slow paces also has some benefits. It:

Slow swimming and rowing is auxiliary training and establishes a base for more specific work. Studies have shown that race performances in running are slowed when training is slower or faster than intended race pace. Neurologically non-specific training does not promote elite performance. Remember, elite athletes and their training principles are different to non-elite individuals. There is no doubt that long slow swimming or rowing will help low-level performers swim or row less slowly but at the high-performance end of the continuum when speed is sought its continued exaggeration is a hindrance. What has to be shelved is the notion that all physical practice contributes to a race performance. Only a very small amount of physical training does and that is superimposed on a general level of fitness which is insufficient for a very high-level of performance. The problem is that few swimmers get out of the general trained state (the "Athletic State" as Bompa called it) because of their general training and so cannot perform in a much improved manner. One could propose that constant general training is the reason why many swimmers are not improving including the "immortal" Alexandre Popov whom I believe has only recorded one 100 m time faster than Matt Biondi did 10 years ago.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

1. improves the aerobic system which will allow a greater volume of both non-specific and specific training to be tolerated, 2. facilitates faster lactate clearance in recovery as well as general recovery from fatigue, and 3. facilitates lactate resynthesis during exercise in the non-propulsive muscles such as the legs in swimming and the overall physique in the rowing recovery.

In the sport of swimming, not only is constant overtraining institutionalized but so is the perpetuation of non-specific and irrelevant activities. Swimmers spend a tremendous amount of time doing the wrong things but since that is a minority opinion . . . . Rowing, at least in the USA, seems to be going the way of swimming. This question can be posed; "When will the current trend in training philosophy and practice reach the 'Dead-end' sign and be altered to better serve athletes?"

3 7


When boat or swimming speed are desirable, train the brain to automate exquisite appropriate movement patterns. Gold medals are given for rowing or swimming fast. No medals are awarded for the best developed aerobic capacity, the densest mitochondria, or the number of capillaries per cross-sectional area of muscle. Few rewards occur when the test results for an anaerobic threshold are read. VO2max does not earn a seat in a boat or a place on a swimming relay team. Good technique in a specifically fit athlete is what is rewarded in these two sports. The brain will determine that. DRILLS WITH AND WITHOUT EQUIPMENT FOR SERIOUS ATHLETES - A STEP BACKWARD

One of the commonest activities in training programs in some sports (e.g., swimming, rowing, kayaking) is the performance of drills, activities that are purported to train in isolation aspects of a total movement pattern. Drills are repetitive training activities which do or do not use equipment. They are intended to stimulate a part of a complex movement (e.g., an upper arm movement) or an elemental segment of a movement chain (e.g., the transition from a take-off to a jump). They train activity parts out-of-context. When equipment such as paddles in swimming, parachutes in running, and "trailing buckets" in rowing are used, the activity elements are distorted because of the requirement to accommodate the non-competition-related equipment. Drills are inappropriate training content for serious or highly-trained athletes. The only exception to "no drills" is when they are part of learning progressions prior to the attainment and practice of some terminal (final) skill. Each drill that is practiced should be considered to be a discrete activity. The greater the similarity between a total competitive skill and a restricted practiced drill, the greater is the likelihood of negative transfer between the two. The learned drill will compete with and disrupt the competitive skill. The following are known about skill training. 

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Brent S. Rushall, February, 1997. Reply to question asking what are the best drills to be used to promote swimming excellence.

Training resources that could be applied to developing higher levels of a competitive skill are used (squandered) on irrelevant drill activities. Thus, the level of accomplishment that is possible in a competitive skill will be reduced by "drilling." It is assumed by many coaches that "drill practice will improve an element imbedded in a total competitive skill." Unfortunately, the manner in which the body learns movements does not accommodate that assumption. For example, learning how to move legs in one activity (e.g., kicking while holding one arm in the air in backstroke) does not produce high-level kicking skill in the competitive activity when the artificial posture and dynamic movement requirements are vastly different. The body constantly attempts to develop specific adaptations/learnings to particular stimuli as a basic requirement for survival. In fatigue, the body seeks to maintain a level of functional output by recruiting extra resources. If there are movement patterns developed through drills which are either

3 8


cognitively or conditionally associated with a competitive skill, the recruitment will first gravitate to those strengthened options. When fatigue starts, an athlete will start to perform with many characteristics of doing a drill rather than maintaining a high degree of competition-appropriate movement function and performance. When extra resources are recruited in fatigue, the recruitment is not done gradually or by degree. It occurs suddenly and relatively completely so that obvious changes in performance occur. Since drills do not train total function, when a "drill movement" is recruited into a contest it should be expected that performance will deteriorate rapidly, dramatically, and obviously.

Drills originally were only meant to be preliminary activities to be used as a step in a progression on the way through to learning a "terminal behavior." But now they have become training items which means that athletes' progress is halted at a less than terminal stage of skill development and competing patterns of movement are established.

Any device ("training aid") that is used in a drill alters neuromuscular patterning to form a unique movement skill. A device artificially trains competing movement patterns and introduces inefficiencies. Many devices have no acceptable data to support their claims of benefit. Most respectable research shows them to have no value or negative benefits. Since the form to be used in a competition is what should be trained, why would one adulterate that form through distortional (device) training? Except at very low levels of performance (e.g., when learning a skill) movement elements learned in one activity do not transfer with any benefit to another. The body does not have the capacity to determine the intention of some training activity. For example, an activity which requires an athlete's posture to be different to that which will be employed in a competition, although it is "meant" to be beneficial, does not benefit the competition performance. The body learns the incorrect posture for the trained activity and depending upon the strength of specific/relevant training will sustain correct or incorrect postures in a contest.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

When athletes develop faults, they need to be re-taught the element in question and the steps that follow that element. It is teaching the element in context of the preceding movements that is important. Instructing the element in isolation ("correction drills") is poor pedagogy.

Since most high level performers are discriminated from each other on the basis of skill efficiency, one of the most important factors for differentiating medalists from non-medalists, the level of performer skill should be maximized. Drill practices and the use of training devices work contrarily to that aim. Many proponents of "drills" argue that the changes in technique they produce are only minor and are therefore, relatively inconsequential. That might be acceptable for individuals in the early stages of skill learning, but it is not acceptable for highly-trained individuals. Any competing movement pattern or disruption to a highly-refined skill has detrimental consequences. This is why the following coaching lore exists:

3 9


"If serious athletes change techniques they have to be prepared to perform worse for a period of time before they have a chance to improve." The situation is even more critical for very experienced (senior) athletes when it may be of no value to attempt to alter a technique flaw, the impact of the existing flaw possibly being minimized through years of training. There comes a time in every athlete's development when skill errors have been performed for so long that attempts to change them would never be effective enough to elevate the performance further. This is particularly so in highly-repetitive cyclic activities such as running, swimming, and sculling.

Swimming is perhaps the sport which advocates training with drills (what coach does not have his/her own special activities?) and the use of training devices (special bags are now marketed to carry all the paraphernalia onto the pool deck) more than any other sport. Since swimming is the one "world sport" in which its top performers are regressing rather than improving, it could be argued that this decline has somewhat matched the increased growth in drill training and the use training devices. Most top swim teams in the USA do very little swimming but much finning, paddling, drills, and whatever. It is a mystery why the importance of training competitive movement patterns is so popularly disdained. One cannot beat the principle of specificity for training when getting ready to perform in a serious high-level competition. If the best performance is desired, then a lot of training had better give the body the opportunity to practice and improve in the activities it will be asked to perform in the competitive setting. Drills and training with artificial devices work against that purpose. Footnote

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

There is a movement instruction science, in this context it is called "sport pedagogy." There are principles that are known to be beneficial and others which are known to be detrimental to performance development and change. It is necessary that knowledge of these principles be a prerequisite for any individual partaking in a coaching activity. Ignorance or a lack of knowledge of those principles is unethical and cannot be overlooked in an expedient decision to hire or appoint a coach.

There are no references listed to this description. The knowledge has been around for at least 40 and more like 50 years. It has not changed since then. It is so well accepted in the psychological literature that no one experiments with it any more. There are likely to be no new discoveries. What is amazing is that so many coaches are ignorant of this information! It should be part of the core-knowledge of coaching education and is so basic that it should be known by any coach, particularly one who derives income from coaching as a professional capacity. Any individual who persists with large amounts of training using drills and training devices should be charged with MAL-practice. Return to Table of Contents for this issue. STYLES OF INSTRUCTION

4 0


Boyce, B. A. (1992). The effects of three styles of teaching on university students' motor performance. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 389-401.

Three styles of teaching were evaluated for effectiveness in teaching a rifle shooting task (kneeling shoot) to university students. 1. Command style is characterized by all decisions, from pre-impact through post-impact, being made by the teacher. 2. Practice style allows the learner to make some decisions on the conduct of the practice (e.g., shooting order of subjects in the group). 3. Reciprocal style allowed partners to do all the instructing and monitoring.

Implication. If a coach wants to elicit skill improvement and short-term learning in a task that is closed and target-oriented, then the command or practice style might be appropriate. If the skill is an open skill or one that relies on cohesion, then the reciprocal style might be better. Further research is warranted. MAJOR INSTRUCTIONAL COMPONENTS Silverman, S. (1996). A pedagogical model of human performance determinants in sports. In Proceedings of the Pre-Congress Symposium of the 1996 Seoul International Sport Science Congress (pp. 32-41). Seoul, Korea: Korean Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Sport pedagogy has three major subareas: (a) curriculum, (b) teacher education, and (c) teaching. Time and practice variables are those which have been shown to be the most powerful predictors of student motor skill learning. A similar emphasis should be applied to learning the skill elements that are necessary for competitive performances in sport.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

All instructional styles led to improvement in the initial stages but then command and practice styles improved much more than the reciprocal style. Also the command and practice styles produced better retention in the shooters.

The degree of learning is a function of the ratio of time actually spent on learning and the actual time needed. Underlying this ratio is the need for mastery learning which is developed through good instruction. Mastery learning is in small units, is student focused, and requires students to master a unit before moving on to the next. Learning in small manageable chunks is particularly appropriate for linear activities such as swimming and arithmetic. Effective learning time in activity is called "academic learning time," (ALT-PE). The amount of activity time students spend engaged at an appropriate difficulty level is the most important

4 1


variable in predicting learning/performance achievement. This holds true with skill learning in sports. Effective practice time is called "beneficial training time" (BTT). Time spent in subject matter or activities that are specific to competitions, is related to learning and performance change. However, not all time is equal in predicting achievement. Time spent in games or scrimmages has been shown to be negatively related to achievement. They do not conform to the good instructional dynamics of blocks of repetitions with feedback. Individual student practice is the single most important determinant of success in learning a motor skill. The more a student practices at a high rate of success, the more likely learning will occur. Thus, individual, challenging, and successful practice with equipment is the most effective activity for altering skill competency. Inappropriate or unrelated practice is negatively related to achievement. Practice that is too hard also negatively impacts learning (students realize they cannot do the activity, "they are no good at it").

Organizational strategies which promote appropriate practice are important. Students and athletes need to spend sufficient time for learning to occur and to be translated into consistent performance. Practicing for a day or two and expecting refined movements to result is a misconception that underlies many poor educational and sporting endeavors. This tendency results in a decrement in learning and students/athletes playing games at inappropriate skill levels. Such resulting situations "turn-off" students to the activity, their perception being that they are "not good enough" to do the activity. Many physical education situations are actually teaching students not to do activities rather than building their skill repertoires. Summary 1. Time spent in games and scrimmages is negatively related to skill achievement. Instructional and practice time should be spent performing individual skills, not games or "simulations." 2. Individual appropriate practice is the single most influential variable associated with skill achievement. Since most sports have skill as a primary component for performance, BTT (beneficial training time) would seem to be a major requirement for effective coaching. 3. Appropriate skilled practice (blocks of repetitions with feedback organized in a developmental progression) should be maximized.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

At very high levels of practice, learning improvements cease. However, in physical education this level is rarely reached and with the de-emphasis on skill learning in sports which require significant energy output it also is rarely achieved.

EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGY CONTENT

4 2


Dirienzo, G. M. (1989). The effects of learning versus performance strategies on the acquisition of putting skill. Dissertation Abstracts International, A50/5, 1250.

The effects of a learning strategy (imagery, location cues, internal focusing, and error detection and correction) was compared to a performance strategy (mental rehearsal, relaxation, and external focusing) on a putting task. Ss using the learning strategy experienced a constant reduction in distance error and putting variability, producing putts that were consistently closer to the hole than the performance strategy and control groups. The strategy for learning a task is different to the final strategy that is used when the task is mastered. Implication. How to do the task is important during the learning process. The elements of what should be done to govern the skill elements and the decisions surrounding the skill execution are important for producing skill change. Attention to the more popular "sport psychology" activities of mental rehearsal, relaxation, etc., is not appropriate in skill acquisition.

[Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 137-147). This reprint is of the first known exposition of operant shaping as a teaching strategy for coaching and movement instruction. It is as relevant today as it was almost 30 years ago.]

The previous chapters have discussed the general features of operant conditioning as they apply to behavior control in sports and physical education. These features can be drawn together to produce a strategy for teaching new behaviors and modifying established behaviors. The strategy is referred to as shaping. Physical education research has principally addressed itself to limited aspects of this topic with the consideration of such items as part versus whole learning, speed versus accuracy, etc., but seldom has a coherent strategy for producing change been outlined. Lawther has come closest to outlining a method with his "gross-framework" model for teaching physical activities to beginners (Lawther, 1968, page 65).

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF SHAPING: THE STRATEGY FOR DEVELOPING AND MODIFYING SPORTING BEHAVIORS

It would be desirable to control all the factors which maximize the learning of physical skills. This is rarely possible in teaching and coaching. To form a pragmatic method of teaching, it is necessary to select the features of control that are accessible, relevant to the environment, and feasible for use. The adaptations and efficiency adjustments of a performer occur at some covert level and quite often at a subconscious level. Conscious performance strategies of learners are particularly individualistic. Teachers and coaches are usually unable to control such strategies although they can be influenced with methods of prompting and guidance (verbal instruction, demonstrations, film). The potential for changing and developing the topographies of behavior

4 3


lies generally in the manipulation of the external environment, particularly the stimulus setting and consequences. It must also be stressed that there is a difference between teaching physical skills and controlling behaviors in the same environment. Teaching addresses itself to developing the topography or rate of occurrence of a new behavior or changing an already established pattern. Controlling concerns itself with the manipulation of repertoires of established behaviors that are required in an environment. The shaping strategy is concerned with the development of specific behaviors. The shaping strategy involves: the definition of a terminal topography, the sequencing of steps of closer approximation to the terminal behavior, the use of primes and prompts to produce performance variations, and the use of reinforcement.

Shaping consists of reinforcing closer and closer approximations of a desired terminal behavior. It is unlikely that a correct response will be emitted on a first attempt so a behavior short of the final behavior form must be reinforced. With subsequent emissions of the behavior, the requirements for reinforcement are made more strict and reinforcement is only provided as the behavior more closely approximates the desired act. The criterion for reinforcement changes from being seemingly lax to being stringent for the final performance. In shaping, as in all reinforcing contingencies, it is essential to reinforce behaviors before other responses intervene and disrupt the pattern. During shaping, reinforcing consequences not only strengthen the particular responses but also increase the probability that a closer approximation of the final behavior will occur. This is the main reason that shaping works. As new approximations are reached and reinforced, aspects of earlier behaviors are extinguished. Skillful shaping consists of selecting the right responses to reinforce and in knowing how long to reinforce each approximation before moving to the next sequenced step. It also requires clear definition of the terminal behavior and the planning of the sequential steps so that transitions are easily made. The administration of reinforcers is the main difficulty with shaping. It is for this reason that it was suggested elsewhere (Rushall & Siedentop, 1972, pp. 106-107) that instruction be undertaken in small groups where reinforcers can be provided continuously and contingent upon behavior. The first instance of the attempted behavior is far removed from the final desired product but it is reinforced. With instruction and reinforcement the behavior successively improves by more closely approximating the final topography.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

1. 2. 3. 4.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR SHAPING PROCEDURES The Definition of the Terminal Behavior Before any developmental procedures can be implemented, it is necessary to define the terminal behavior that is to be shaped. Such a definition would include all the behavioral elements which need to be recognized and understood. Each element must be described in observable and measurable terms.

4 4


General behaviors such as rule-following and competitive effort are usually defined in terms of their general features and effects. General features describe the method of how one follows a rule or how one asserts himself in competition. These features do not require a defined topography but rather a compliance with a set of procedures. For example, the definition of an attending behavior might be: Attending behavior. The pupil should arrive on the gym floor before the time scheduled for the commencement of class. He should be appropriately dressed for the activity that is to be instructed.

On the other hand, in order to define a skilled behavior it is usually necessary to consider topographical features, procedural features, and effects. For example, the skill of tackling requires the head, arms and shoulders to be placed in a particular relationship to the object to be tackled (topographical features), it requires the tackler to undergo certain preparatory and execution procedures (procedural features), and it requires that the opponent be put on the ground (effect). These features differentiate a "tackle" from someone inadvertently tripping over a defensive player (the procedures and topography are absent), from missing a "tackle" (the effect is absent), etc. These criteria define a "tackle." They allow an observer to know what a "tackle" is, and they provide a means by which a performer can be credited with having performed adequately. It is usually necessary to consider three aspects of the skill in formulating a definition: 1. Temporal factors. Timing the onset of the response, coordination of muscular activity and the anticipation of time-dependent events are examples of temporal factors which occur in some skills. 2. Spatial factors. The relationship of the performer to various features of his environment such as a target, a ball or an opponent are examples of some spatial factors which occur in some skills. 3. Proficiency factors. Proficiency can be further broken down into three components, (1) the requirements for accuracy (as in pitching or kicking), (2) the requirements for productivity (as in height jumped, distance thrown), and (3) the requirements for efficiency (the optimal expenditure of energy resources over time as in an endurance run.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

In this definition two observable criteria are listed, arriving at a specific time and the manner of dress. If these characteristics are not displayed then the pupil will not be assessed as attending the class. A behavior which also requires an effect should include that effect in its definition, e.g. an assertive behavior may stipulate obtaining a heart rate of 160 beats per minute. The criterion for an adequate definition is that it should allow any observer to recognize a response of the operant class under consideration. The explicit definition of topographical aspects is not usually necessary for general behaviors as the procedures and effects of the behavior are the features of importance. This is what differentiates a general behavior from a skilled behavior.

Most skills have components Of all these factors in their structure. These features should be considered in the initial development of the topographical elements of the definition.

4 5


In Chapter 6 the concept of chaining was explained. If the chain is explained in macro terms, for example, a volleyball spike consists of anticipating, preparing and spiking behaviors, then each of these members of the chain are discrete behaviors. To perform a volleyball spike at a high level of proficiency, each member of the chain would have to be executed well. It is possible to shape each of them. In this regard one does not shape a chain of behaviors when initially instructing a skill. The Procedure is to shape each of the macro units, and then shape the chaining of these units to finally produce the complex behavior. It is important to recognize the fact that the behavior that is to be shaped should be small enough in terms of acquisition time to indicate progress of achievement of the final complex behavior. In this regard it would be better to teach anticipation (the utilization and recognition of certain stimulus situations), preparation, and the spike (gathering, jumping, extending, hitting, follow-through) as separate units rather than shaping the whole skill from the outset. This procedure allows for the use of progress charts, etc., as reinforcers as it does set defined developmental stages in acquiring the terminal complex behavior.

1. Some motor behaviors are highly segmented and best taught as discrete units. For example, typing in the beginner stage consists of a large repertoire of small skills. Each letter typed is an individual response which needs to be developed through meaningful practice. With practice and reinforcement, the nature and size of the performance unit change from letters to words and then to phrases. In the final stages the typing skill is smooth and flowing which is of markedly different appearance to the requirements of the beginning skill. 2. Some motor behaviors are performed only as whole units. Woodworth (1958) and Fitts (1964) indicated that the basic behavioral unit for meaningful practice is the two-phase motor unit (a preparatory act and then the act itself, e.g., a crouch and then the jump). Several sports skills, e.g., pitching, hitting a golf ball, a somersault, are best taught as an attempt at the skill itself. Such skills are usually very short in duration and the resulting performance information is used to adjust the next trial of the skill. 3. Some motor behaviors are practiced as whole units but are progressively changed through instruction. These behaviors are highly repetitive tasks. Instruction serves to alter the topography of the skill while it is in progress, e.g., changing a running action, learning to row. 4. Some motor behaviors are briefly introduced in small units and then practiced as a whole unit. For example, a beginning swimmer is shown how to kick and move the arms. These units are practiced before entering the water. In a short while these segments are combined and practiced as a unified activity from then on.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Skilled motor behaviors usually fall into one of four instructional classes:

The implication from this brief discussion is simply that one needs to know the behavior that is to be shaped. It is possible to shape a behavioral element or a large-scale activity. The procedural steps for shaping are the same regardless of the magnitude of the behavior. In the final stages of any behavior development the behavior must be practiced in its entirety. When a segment is practiced and reinforced it should be qualitatively the same as in the total behavior. It is the teacher's, or coach's decision as to what is the unified behavior that is to be developed.

4 6


Priming Behaviors (Guidance) When a new behavior is to be shaped, it is necessary to start the procedure with a behavior which is at least allied to the terminal behavior. The procedure provoking such a behavior is called priming, prompting, or guidance. Primes act as discriminative stimuli for the performer as they indicate the appropriate behavior to be emitted. Holding (1965) presents a clear and comprehensive review of the research associated with this topic.

There are usually four types of guidance procedure. Physical restriction prevents the occurrence of errors as the performer is blocked from making an overt incorrect response. Floats for beginning swimmers and a harness for practicing gymnastic activities are two examples of physically restricting devices. Forced-responding dictates to the performer how one should perform. Physical manipulation of the limbs in showing how to do a crawl stroke kick is an example of forcing a response. The subject does not actively initiate the response. It is possible that forced-responding could produce some intrinsic kinesthetic cues. Another method is visual guidance. Methods of completing a response or task are presented in some visual form, for example, plans, maps, a series of photos. The final method is verbal guidance. This can enhance performance by communicating information other than pure guidance. Research results have produced a series of findings which can be of use to the teacher and coach when teaching behavior chains (i.e., serial tasks such as dance steps, gymnastic routines, and football plays). Early guidance in the instructional process helps preserve response flexibility in the face of frustrating or anxiety-provoking conditions. Some teaching situations are quite stressful for the performer, for example, the adult learning to swim usually suffers some social embarrassment and often displays "fear" reactions. It is important for the teacher to give adequate guidance in such circumstances. Individual instruction in each developmental step is usually required. It has also been found that if there is a basic change in the instructional procedure after training has been initiated, by either beginning or ending guidance, learning is retarded. This is yet another reason for proposing shaping as the instructional strategy.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Methods of physical, visual, and verbal guidance are all directed towards limiting the occurrence of errors in the stages of acquiring a behavior. Errors appear to be learned because people who commit them tend to repeat them. Erroneous responses have to be suppressed in a later stage of the behavior development process. This problem can be avoided if ways can be devised to prevent people learning or experiencing erroneous responses, for example, through the use of programmed instruction or training devices.

Physical Restriction. The possibility of using devices for instructional purposes has been discussed elsewhere (Chapter 3 in the section on performance information). Such devices limit the potential for making errors or experiencing unpleasant circumstances. Usually these devices are provided as a safety precaution (e.g., swim floats prevent sinking and the safety harness in gymnastics reduces the prospect of injury). The consequence of using these devices which facilitate instruction is of secondary importance to their traditionally implied safety role. The scope for researching instructional devices for physical skills is quite broad.

4 7


Forced-responding. Cooperative manipulation of an individual provides kinesthetic experiences which are not offered through passive methods of guidance (visual or verbal). Manipulation refers to the external control of a performer's anatomy such that the locus of action approximates a terminal behavior, for example, moving the legs in a flutter-kick action in teaching swimming. The individual who is undergoing manipulation must be cooperative. If an individual is not motivated to perform the behavior, manipulation has aversive characteristics and learning is retarded. Manipulation is particularly useful in teaching retarded and sensorily deficient individuals. It is one of the least researched methods of priming.

Visual aids are popularly accepted methods of guidance and priming. This is mainly because of the concerted efforts of the commercial enterprises which produce them. Pictures, graphs, etc., may serve as variety features in a lesson or book but what evidence there is does not give much support to the value of their use. A film produces information at a fixed rate and evidence suggests that films fall short of their promise. The best procedure is to supplement films with question and answer procedures rather than allow just passive viewing. However, displays which provide important information do enhance learning and the initiation of a desired response. They should highlight essential important facts, for example, a picture of a kicker with arrows pointing to the important features is much more effective than the picture alone. If a display is used to guide a task (as in learning to type, run a machine) it is best to have the display spatially oriented with the task. For example, to teach a series of dance steps it would be better to have the routine marked on the floor rather than illustrated on a board. The display would be oriented directly to the activity. Similarly, it would seem to be better to learn various plays for football by marking the movement patterns on the ground rather than explaining them on a board as is the usual procedure. The ground markings restrict the possibility of making errors and also produce a precision factor into the plays at a much earlier stage than is usual. Where tasks have certain perceptual difficulties (something happens too quickly for the naked eye to perceive or it is too large to comprehend) displays can be utilized. The tasks can be magnified either in size or speed (slow motion movies) or they can be "minified" (a football field is scanned by a TV camera and seen as a whole).

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Visual Guidance. There are a variety of methods which are suitable for priming behaviors. Demonstrations are perhaps the most common form of visual guidance. They provide standards for a performer which are essential for activities which provide little intrinsic information feedback. They provide a basis for imitation which serves to narrow down the scope of possible trial-and-error responses. Demonstration should be supplemented with meaningful reinforcement for appropriate responses. It is a major method for priming behaviors when verbal instruction fails or where experiences or some senses are lacking (e.g., raw beginners, the deaf). In demonstrating a behavior, one should attempt to present it as the learner sees it. When verbal guidance is used in conjunction with demonstration, content should be aimed at the features which are important to the observer. This will enhance the number of relevant cues in the demonstration.

Verbal Guidance. Verbal instruction is the more traditional form of priming responses. It is limited in some respects to the ability of the listener to interpret instructions and to the speaker's verbal ability. Verbal instruction is actually an intervening process between the observation or conception of the terminal behavior by the instructor and the understanding of the student.

4 8


Verbal instruction by itself serves as a translation process and consequently loses information as it is implemented. It requires more preparation for its use than is traditionally afforded it in instruction. It embraces a variety of purposes which include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Directions on how to perform a skill. Directions on how not to perform a skill. Reasons for why a skill should be performed in a certain manner. Verbalizations which focus attention on aspects of a skill for feedback. Verbalizations for motivation (after Lawther, 1968).

Verbal instruction becomes more important and useful as the performer becomes older. It requires the teacher or coach to develop a mastery of the skill vocabulary particularly when highly skilled performers are involved.

Verbal pre-training is also a form of verbal guidance. Saying what will be done can be used as a preparation for behavior. The recital of the steps for performance in the initial stages of instruction aid acquisition provided the words help to make perceptual distinctions and that the verbal response does not interfere with the behavior. For example, in sailing the procedure for a skipper to follow when wishing to "go about" is clearly defined and is usually learned through on-shore training. When the actual response is to be made the novice skipper rehearses the verbal checklist prior to issuing commands. A typical rehearsal consists of: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

warn the crew, give the ready signal, issue the command "go about," hard tiller, change position, ( pull in the main sheet, and steady the tiller.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The effect of instructions depends upon the form of the instructions and the nature of the task. Instructions which over-elaborate or inundate the listener with information can retard behavior development. For example, in highly skilled athletes a preoccupation with analysis and cognitive control may retard acquisition and detract from performance. The role of the prime is to act as a discriminative stimulus for an appropriate behavior. Confusion and ambiguity in the stimulus will decrease the probability of the appropriate response being emitted. Attempts to impress others by using big words and complex concepts tend to retard learning.

This series of steps guides the beginner to execute a complex skill and decreases the possibilities of errors in performance. Verbal pre-training is suitable for the early stages of learning in tasks which: 1. differentiate a set of motor behaviors (e.g., the steps concerned with changing gears in a manual car), 2. which differentiate between a number of stimuli and the appropriate action (e.g., if X then Y, but if Z then X), and

4 9


3. where the verbal response means the motor action. The content of verbal pre-training commands must have action counterparts and must direct the sequencing of the activity. In essence, verbal pre-training consists of learning a chain of verbal events which later act as a series of discriminative stimuli for a motor chain. In general, words can be used to supplement behaviors in the initial stages of behavior development. As the acquisition process proceeds, the role of verbal priming and guidance should be faded out (stimulus fading). The above priming techniques can be combined to provide more effective methods of information transfer to prompt a particular behavior. Combined forms of sensory input produce more information transfer than singular methods. It would be best to try to combine as many forms of sensory input as possible to produce a behavior that is closer to the terminal behavior than is normally provided by single forms of priming. Audiovisual instruction (verbal instruction plus demonstration) is a form of combining priming methods. Other possibilities exist for combination but have not been extensively researched.

The difference between each step in the shaping process is important. It is relatively rare that an individual can display a terminal behavior after priming without going through some series of approximations. One should not expect to reinforce only the correct skill in teaching physical activities. Miniature segments of a complicated technique need to be reinforced to firmly establish behavior patterns. A reinforcement after a long period of practice which includes performance variations generally does not influence the details of a skill. The steps in the shaping process should be sequenced so that each step progresses with equal ease to the next. The terminal topography may look to be extremely complex and difficult, but when it is finally reached it should be executed as easily as the first step. If there is difficulty in transition from one step to the next, then faults in the step sequencing (programming) are most probably present. Stimulus ambiguity, confusion, inadequate priming, instruction, or direction, or aversive contaminants may cause disruption. Each step in the programmed set must be overtly attempted and superimposed upon the previously reinforced step. Program steps need to be fairly small and must be organized into an effective sequence. The order of complexity, difficulty and logical progression are factors often considered in developing teaching and coaching schedules. The step size should be small enough to allow immediate reinforcement. This raises the frequency of reinforcement to a maximum while the possibility of the aversive consequences of committing errors is minimized.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Step Sequences

The amount of change in behavior that is demanded of the performer in each step must be weighed against the need to maintain the behavior at a given strength. If the step transition is too difficult and no reinforcement is forthcoming, then already reinforced behaviors will be extinguished and no new behavior will be reinforced. If the step is not difficult, a new behavior will be strengthened while components of the old behavior will be extinguished. It is important that the coach and teacher select the correct hierarchy of approximated responses for

5 0


reinforcement, and then know how long to reinforce each approximation. It is not advisable to reinforce an inadequate behavior when trying for a better response. Such a reinforced behavior may be competitive to the desired new behavior. The hierarchy of steps that is planned by the coach and teacher must be graded, and reinforcement should only be given when each step is correctly executed. When an athlete does not appear to be able to perform the next programmed step in the sequence, it is most probable that the step size has been too large. The coach or teacher will then need to redesign the step progression so that each unit can be performed by the individual. In the instructional procedure, the teacher or coach should return to the previously successful step and then proceed with the new sequence.

Determining when to progress from one step to the next is a decision that has to be included in step-formulation. If one correct performance occurred it could be because of a chance happening or actual learning. To avoid the former, which would likely result in errors in the next step, it is usual to develop a progression criterion that requires more than one correct response to be performed consecutively. When a step's performance is errorless for several trials, the reliability of the learning at that step is demonstrated and a chance occurrence can be ruled out. In practical terms, a common progression criterion is a minimum of three consecutive correct trials in a step being performed. If two correct responses occurred and then an error was made, the requirement for three in-a-row would need to be restarted. It is important to be rigorous in the application of step-progression criteria. Schedules of Reinforcement with Shaping Schedules of reinforcement must be prepared for two phases of the shaping process, the step and the terminal behavior. Each step must be performed a number of times to eliminate any chance occurrences. Each step must be reinforced sufficiently to have enough strength to be performed on a few occasions without reinforcement when step changes are introduced. The most appropriate schedule for steps is a burst of continuous reinforcement (CRe) which is then stretched into a low variable ratio (VR) schedule. All that is required of the performer is to be able to perform the previous step while attempting to add or replace the new behavioral elements of the next behavior. If a skill is considered as consisting of a set of behavioral elements and the shaping process is an agradation of those elements, then the already reinforced elements which are required for the terminal behavior need to be consistently exhibited with each subsequent step. A reinforcement schedule is required to partially establish the behavior of each step.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

It is likely that each step will have to be primed in some way. The reason that priming each step is desirable is that immediate cueing heads off incorrect anticipatory responses (primes are discriminative stimuli). Progressive prompting is a very effective teaching method when it is combined with contingent reinforcement.

When the terminal behavior is exhibited, the shaping process is completed. What is then required is for the terminal behavior to be firmly established and maintained at a desirable rate of occurrence. The coach and teacher must provide a schedule of reinforcement which will fix the behavior as a permanent feature of the individual's behavior repertoire. CRe changing to variable ratio/variable interval (VR/VI) reinforcement is the appropriate schedule here. An added feature that is commonly required for the substantiation of terminal behaviors is "booster" or revision

5 1


sessions where further CRe-VR/VI schedules are administered although in successively diminishing amounts. It is also often necessary to repeat the last few steps of a skill development program for several sessions. This procedure helps to diminish variations in performance which occur in the early stages of high level skill acquisition. The final decision for effective development and control is to develop the amount of stimulus control that is needed. Certain skills need to have highly developed discriminative control. Skills which require decisions as to how to react fall into this category. Most sports activities are in this class. The procedures for developing stimulus control have been discussed elsewhere in this text. Reinforcers Reinforcers appropriate for operant conditioning have already been discussed. The most useful reinforcer for the shaping of skilled behaviors is knowledge of results. However, it is often a wise procedure to have several other reinforcers on hand as back-up consequences in case of possible satiation in long shaping procedures. Knowledge of results is particularly powerful when it is tied to a contingency management plan (see Chapter 9). Younger persons are more susceptible to a greater variety of reinforcers than are older individuals.

1. the teaching of a new behavior, and 2. the changing or superimposing of aspects of a behavior. The models for each of these tasks are similar in that they do follow the operant, shaping-by-approximation concept. They differ in some aspects of the strategies involved. It is because of these differences that the two are presented separately. References 1. Fitts, P. M. (1964). Perceptual-motor learning. In A. W. Melton (Ed.), Categories of human learning. New York, NY: Academic Press. 2. Holding, D. H. (1965). Principles of training. Oxford, England: Pergamon Press. 3. Lawther, J. (1968). The learning of physical skills. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 4. Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. 5. Woodworth, R. S. (1958). Dynamics of behavior. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Shaping procedures are used for developing behaviors where the terminal behavior does not exist. This embraces two areas:

SHAPING MODEL 1: TEACHING A NEW SKILL/BEHAVIOR [Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 147-148)]

5 2


This model applies to circumstances where the terminal behavior is not in the individual's repertoire. Circumstances such as learning to swim the crawl stroke, hit a backhand in tennis, and to do a somersault are examples of new activities. Developing non-skilled behaviors (e.g., assertive behaviors, attending to instructions) are also appropriate for this model. The steps required for an adequate shaping strategy are listed below:

An example of applying this model to developing a general behavior is described below. A desirable terminal behavior in swimming could be described as a maximum effort in a race. Many new swimmers do not exhibit this behavior. It may be deemed desirable to develop behaviors of this type. Shaping could be used to develop assertive behaviors such as competitive effort so that they are highly probable within the environment. A most difficult problem would be to develop the terminal behavior of an extreme competitive effort from a behavior which nowhere resembles it. In this situation the main problem would be the development of the sequence of steps and the provision of reinforcement. A suitable behavior must be selected as a starting point and reinforced. Such a response might be swimming and keeping up with someone who is a better performer than the individual undergoing the shaping procedure. This is a very mild assertive response and if it is reinforced immediately it will increase in its probability of occurrence. The swimmer should progress through a series of developmental steps which require an increasing amount of work output. For example, the next step may be to finish the training unit before the other swimmer. This then may lead to always finishing before the other swimmer, making more competitive responses in races, etc. By building on the starting behavior and making the criteria for reinforcement more strict with the attainment of each step, the terminal behavior can be approached. By using a shaping strategy, the individual can be led into competitive situations where assertive responses requiring more effort can be made. As the intensity of effort increases, it will eventually approximate the desired level of competitive effort. Once the terminal behavior is exhibited, the appropriate schedule of reinforcement is introduced to produce a consistent emission rate. At the completion of this shaping procedure the individual should exhibit behaviors which could be described as good

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

1. Determine the terminal behavior. 2. Determine one or more significant reinforcers. 3. Determine a successively more approximate set of criteria (the sequence of steps) for each behavior or behavior segment. 4. For complex skills, such as swimming, determine the appropriate sequence for teaching the segments and their amalgamation so that the skill will be built efficiently. 5. Determine methods for administering contingent reinforcement. 6. Determine the reinforcement schedules and desired behavior strengths for each step. 7. Determine the reinforcing schedules for establishing the terminal behavior. 8. Determine procedures for developing stimulus control. 9. Prime the behavior segments or the behavior itself. 10. Reinforce each step. 11. Apply the terminal schedule when the program is completed. 12. Appraise the terminal behavior periodically and re-institute shaping procedures and terminal schedule where necessary.

5 3


competitive efforts. The possibility exists for a teacher or coach to set about shaping a number of general behaviors in individuals to the extent of even changing characteristic patterns of behavior. SHAPING MODEL 2: CHANGING A SKILLED BEHAVIOR [Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 148-152)]

1. Recognize the features of the established movement pattern which need to be replaced. These should be listed. 2. Determine and list the replacement patterns. 3. Determine one or more significant reinforcers. 4. Determine the steps for shaping. Since the individual will already perform a "comfortable" technique, these steps must be gradually introduced. 5. Develop a program for changing one feature at a time so that this skill is systematically rebuilt. 6. Determine methods for administering contingent reinforcement. 7. Determine step reinforcement schedules. 8. Determine terminal behavior reinforcement schedules. 9. Let the individual know what is being done incorrectly in the skill. Motivate the performer to avoid the feature in question as the program is followed. 10. Prime each feature as planned. 11. Reinforce each step. 12. Apply the terminal schedule. 13. Appraise the skill and re-institute schedules or program sequences where necessary. 14. Perform the activity in the actual or simulated environment.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

This model applies to circumstances where the behavior exists in some form but needs to be modified in order to improve performance. It differs from the previous model in the planning stages and in the singular approach to changing one feature of the skill at a time. The model is:

An example of applying this model is discussed below. Rushall (1970) illustrated the procedure for shaping a swimming technique. One of the principal concerns of coaching advanced swimmers is to individualize the mechanical principles which govern the techniques of swimming and to teach the swimmer to perform in a particular set pattern. The example cited related the steps concerned with changing a set form of a national AAU finalist in the 100-yard butterfly event to a markedly different pattern of movement. Several decisions and procedures had to be formulated in order to maximize the efficiency of the coaching-teaching process. They were:

5 4


1. Recognize the established pattern segments which were detracting from the stroke efficiency. 2. Determine the patterns which should replace the inefficient segments so as to increase the efficiency of the stroke. 3. Determine a significant reinforcer. 4. Determine an increasingly more difficult set of criteria to shape the response. 5. Apply a systematic schedule of reinforcement to develop the behavior to a consistent, high level of performance. Inefficient Patterns. A list of the inefficiencies in the swimmer's movement pattern for swimming butterfly stroke was compiled. The inefficiencies were: The hands were too close together on the entry. A failure to push through at the end of the stroke. A failure to pronate the forearm and elbow at the start of the arm pull. The breathing action was too late in the recovery phase of the stroke. Both shoulders and hips undulated too much in the action. The kick dominance restricted the rate of the arm action. The arm recovery was too high.

This list clearly defined the segments of the total movement pattern which needed to be eliminated. It was not necessary to punish these behaviors to eliminate them because the technique was being changed. The new aspects of the technique were superimposed on those which already existed. This is usually the case when coaching sport skills. The procedures for suppressing or eliminating behaviors are relatively unimportant in shaping procedures. It was also necessary to explain the reasons for these segments being inefficient. The swimmer could then make attempts to avoid the inappropriate segments. Efficient Patterns. The changes in technique that were deemed desirable were established. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

The hand entry was to be no less than shoulder width apart. A longer push back was needed. The arms were to be stretched forward for a wide hand entry. The forearms and elbows were to be pronated on contact with the water. The hips and shoulders were to be stabilized. A low, flat arm recovery with pronated hands was needed. The breathing action was to occur at the end of the effort phase of the stroke.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

It was decided to superimpose the above features in the order listed. In doing this, the basic assumption was made that swimming techniques are unified patterns of behavior. This required that the total chained-operant was to be executed while attempting to change a segment of that total response. A Significant Reinforcer. Once an athlete has achieved a certain degree of performance and motivation in a sport, it is often unnecessary to discover extrinsic reinforcers that are significant to the individual. Individuals are motivated to do the correct technique because of the

5 5


Criteria. It was desirable to plan a system of changes from bad to good and to reinforce each of these changes with each of the new technique points. It is highly unlikely that an individual will be able to perform the new behavior perfectly on the first trial. Old movement patterns are extremely dominant and difficult to eliminate. If the steps of change are too large, then the established "good" feeling of the old pattern is upset. The new aspects might then acquire noxious qualities. The athlete feels so uncomfortable in doing new actions that the learning process is inhibited because the degree of discomfort serves as an aversive consequence. The consequences of a change in technique need to be mild so that they do not appear to be uncomfortable to the athlete. In this example, the hand entry was accordingly graded in width from 10 inches to 20 inches in approximately 2-inch increments and reinforced until performed correctly. Other new features were graded in a similar manner so that they could be introduced without discomforting the swimmer. Schedule of Reinforcement. Once the behavior is attempted according to the strictest criterion (the terminal behavior is emitted), a schedule or reinforcement needs to be instituted to firmly establish the behavior. Continuous reinforcement in the initial trials and then a change to a VR/VI schedule were followed. After the first period of change, revisions and reappraisals of the new movement were made. In several instances, the "old" patterns recurred. Sessions of "booster" instruction were needed to finally establish the new patterns. Knowledge of results was used as the reinforcer throughout the whole shaping process.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

consequential better performance that is derived and, therefore, knowledge of progress is able to reinforce behavior. Competitive success has usually become a strong secondary positive reinforcer. This is what allows knowledge of progress (improvement) to serve as a reinforcer. The use of contrived or material reinforcers could be necessary with very young performers, for tasks which require work-output, or for activities which have the threat of bodily harm. One of the most significant reinforcers for shaping techniques is knowledge of results (KR). KR needs to be continuous and complete to optimize skill acquisition. Changing the swimming mechanics of a single performer allowed these criteria to be met. A simple, adequate system for providing contingent KR was devised using a flashlight. It was established that when the light was not glowing, the new aspects of the technique were being correctly executed. Since the stroke was butterfly, it was possible to stand at the end of the pool and direct the light beam at the swimmer. KR was therefore available during the breathing phase of each stroke. No more than three continuous errors were tolerated in practice to avoid repetitious practice of an incorrect action.

A final aspect of shaping techniques for experienced athletes Should be considered. When an activity is performed under conditions of stress, behavior patterns tend to revert to the more established patterns. If an athlete is exhibiting a new technique at an easy level of performance, it is quite possible that the performer will revert to the old habit pattern under conditions of stress or fatigue. In such circumstances, it is necessary to give reinforcement under conditions of stress so that the behaviors will become dominant in those conditions. Reference GENERAL FEATURES OF THE SHAPING PROCEDURE

5 6


[Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 152-155)]

The Shaping Procedure

The learning rates and abilities of individuals vary greatly. Some need only a general idea of a skill as a prime and then seemingly proceed on their own path of self-reinforcement. In contrast, others never seem to display a facility for learning physical skills. Most participants in sports and physical education fall between these extremes. By adequate programming and reinforcement, all individuals should be able to learn. To optimize learning rates, step sequences need to be partly individualized. This does not mean that a new sequence is formulated for each performer. Rather, a single sequence designed for the very slow learner is sufficient. The fast learners skip steps according to their performance. The total sequence contains the elements necessary for a good program for any individual for it should comprise the universal set of steps. The skill in shaping behaviors resides in the coach's ability to select the correct sequence. This skill increases as the individual becomes familiar with and experienced in applying the strategy. Shaping should continue into the highest degree of performance. The shaping process is an appropriate control strategy when further discriminations are to be made and inefficiencies are to be removed from a behavior as is the usual case with highly skilled performers.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The process of becoming competent in physical performance must be divided into a large number of small steps with reinforcement being contingent upon the completion of each step. This does not imply teaching by the part method. It requires the development of systematic, empirically justified, successive approximations of the final skill as a program for teaching physical behaviors. Small steps facilitate shaping because they place reinforcement within the reach of the individual. The importance of step formulation cannot be over-emphasized. It offers the prospect of producing programs which eliminate or minimize errors and their contaminant negative qualities. Complex behaviors must be developed through programmed procedures. Typical procedures of instruction do not have a skillful program which moves through a series of progressive approximations to the final topography. Poorly developed programs and poor reinforcement techniques retard optimal skill development.

The Distribution of Practice Sessions A popular topic in psychological research was massed versus distributed practice sessions. This controversy was debated without any firm resolve as to the merits of one method over the other. The general conclusion has been reached that massed practice is good for some tasks and distributed practice is good for the majority of tasks. In terms of measures of retention, the practice plan seems of minor importance. Methodological problems were prevalent in this research area. However, a variable that was rarely controlled was reinforcement. It has been found that with careful control of the reinforcement conditions in a practice session, learning rates and persistence can be increased remarkably. This feature has been displayed in both animal and human experiments. The general rule now is that the length of a practice session is

5 7


determined by the physiological fatigue incurred and the individual's motivation to progress (reinforcement). By carefully alternating activities and providing adequate reinforcement, the work output and performance improvement of athletes can be greatly increased. In complex activities (such as swimming, track and field, football) where the participant is required to practice a repertoire of skills, the participation period can be extended by changing the skills practiced while general physiological fatiguing occurs. This is evidenced in modem swimming programs where specialists train for a particular stroke by using a medley program (Rushall, 1967a). Generally, the greater the number of skills that need to be practiced, the longer can be the practice session. When reinforcement is programmed the main determinant of the length will be physiological tolerance. There is a great scope for research in sports and physical education to determine the methods for increasing diligence, application, and persistence in training through the use of reinforcement. Until reinforcement is controlled, the optimum length and distribution of practice sessions cannot be postulated.

Many physical skills are of a short duration, particularly those which are two-phase actions. Skills such as throwing, punting a football, diving, hitting a golf ball, etc., are examples of shortduration activities. The kinesthetic information that is generated in these behaviors is confused and relatively meaningless. The only performance information that can be used for changing the skill is evaluative intrinsic information feedback (IF) or artificial IF. Although these skills are usually two-phase actions they still constitute a chain of minute behaviors. The occasion often arises where a member in the middle of the chain needs to be altered, for example, the positioning of the foot in the punt kick. A method is required to alter this aspect of the behavior. The solution requires an application of the second shaping model since a new aspect of the technique needs to be superimposed on an existing segment. However, a difficulty presents itself in finding a method for evaluating whether the new aspect of the skill was executed in a trial. In a kick, a throw, etc., the action occurs at too fast a speed for the observer to assess the standard of performance. Usually the behavior is so rapid that the performer is unable to adequately discern the completeness of the effort. Sophisticated instant replay TV devices are available for on-site assessment. They facilitate the evaluation procedure and provide a means of limiting the delay between the response and reinforcement. However, few organizations have such facilities for coaching and teaching. The alternatives open for solving or partially solving the evaluation problem are limited. It is not the presentation of reinforcement that is the difficulty but rather it is the decision-making process as to when reinforcement should be provided.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Teaching Short-duration Behaviors

One solution is to set an external standard for performance. If a technique is to be changed, it must have some measurable effect upon the proficiency of the behavior. When the new behavior segment is introduced, for example, in diving a technique change can be implemented to permit an improved entry into the water, then an external measure (the entry into the water) could be used for determining when and how reinforcement should be supplied. On the other hand, some technique changes are not immediately effective and may even detract from the performance in the early stages of learning although in the long run they will improve performance. What needs

5 8


to be done in this situation is to get the athlete to discriminate between the new and the old behavior segment. Some individuals can differentiate between the two, but the majority of performers cannot. What has to be done in these circumstances is that the whole action needs to be recorded on film or video-tape and replayed as soon as possible. During the delayed presentation of the recording, reinforcement is still a viable procedure for effecting behavior change. Delayed reinforcement which is contingent upon witnessing a recorded behavior and not contingent upon the actual behavior does produce results (Schwarz & Hawkins, 1970). In replay sessions of this nature, it is also advantageous to further reinforce all the aspects of the behavior. Attempts should also be made to produce a discrimination in the athlete so that he can tell correct and incorrect responses. Such a situation is far from ideal and one must expect the changes to be produced slowly as the reinforcement (particularly IF) is restricted in its use and contingency. Its effect will be subsequently diminished.

Shaping procedures may resemble those methods used by some athletic coaches and others who shape subtle skills. However, deliberate adoption of the operant principles concerned with shaping has been rare and, consequently, normal teaching procedures have suffered. The steps described here require much more attention to diagnosis, prognosis, and preparation than is usually afforded the actual behavior control procedures which are currently used in teaching and coaching activity-setting behaviors. Summary [This refers to the previous two shaping models and this section] A strategy was developed to guide the teacher and coach in developing new behaviors and modifying established behaviors. The strategy used the method of shaping (successive approximation) which required the teacher and coach to manipulate the stimulus setting and consequences. In shaping, behaviors are reinforced according to a planned program of steps which finally result in a desired terminal behavior being emitted.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Individuals who cannot employ delayed reinforcement techniques in these difficult circumstances will be deficient in that aspect of coaching. About all that can be hoped for in such cases is that the athletes will produce good techniques through fortunate trial-and-error contingencies.

The strategy is equally suitable for teaching skilled motor behaviors as it is for teaching general behaviors. Two models were offered for use in teaching and coaching. The first was for teaching entirely new behaviors and the second for modifying existing behaviors. Each model required the definition of the terminal behavior to be developed, the application and scheduling of reinforcement, a planned progression of developmental steps, the priming of each successively approximate behavior, and the application of a terminal schedule to establish the behavior in the individual's behavior repertoire. The developmental process is dependent upon reinforcement and methods of priming. Priming was discussed at some length. Three methods seemed suitable for physical education and sports. They were visual, verbal, and physical guidance. Each had its advantages and disadvantages and it was asserted that guidance utilizing more than one form of media was desirable. Priming serves to reduce the number of errors that can be made.

5 9


Another feature of the strategy that was stressed was the programming of the developmental steps. The steps which serve as the criteria for reinforcement need to be such that errors are minimized. The planning of the program governs the success of the procedure. Each progression in the program should be made with equal ease and consequently maximizing reinforcement. Shaping offers a clearly defined and measurable strategy for teaching and coaching new behavior topographies. Its utilization will facilitate errorless learning and a clearly understood behavior form. Traditional teaching procedures neglect the main benefits and requirements of shaping which are necessary for the optimal acquisition of behaviors.

1. Rushall, B. S. (1967). The scientific bases of circulorespiratory endurance training. Unpublished master's thesis, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. 2. Schwarz, M. L., & Hawkins, R. P. (1970). Application of delayed reinforcement procedures to the behavior of an elementary school child. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 3, 85-96 3. SHAPING BASEBALL SKILLS IN CHILDREN 4. Simek, T. C., & O'Brien, R. M. (1982, May). A chaining-mastery, discrimination training program to teach Little Leaguers to hit a baseball: An unintentional between groups, multiple baseline study. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 5. 6. In their book Total golf, Simek and O'Brien (9181) reported that a chaining-mastery approach to teaching beginning golfers produced significant improvement in golf scores over traditional methods of instruction. In this study, that approach was extended to teaching Little Leaguers how to hit a baseball. 7. Following two baseline games and a baseline measure in practice of the number of fair balls hit before six strikes, 10 of 12 boys (ages 8-11) were trained to hit a baseball beginning with a bigger bat and ball pitched slowly from only a few feet. The pitcher then moved back with a smaller ball as a mastery criterion for number of hits was attained at each of 11 steps. Both game performance and a repeat of the baseline practice measure after game six showed large increases in the number of hits. 8. At this time a program of discrimination training for hitable balls (strikes) was instituted using a mastery approach to teach earlier and earlier discrimination of strikes from balls. Number of bases on balls had remained low through the first six games but gradually increased to high levels for games 7 through 10, during the discrimination training program. A repeat of the baseline practice measure, after game 10, showed continued improvement over the post-game-six measurement. 9. Game measures also improved from a baseline team batting average of .250, to .342 for games 3 through 6 and .369 for games 7 through 10. Two boys whose parents rejected the chaining-discrimination training approach were given training in "guided visual fantasy" for batting skills throughout the study by the father of one of the boys. They showed no improvement on any dependent measure. The results suggest that a program of chainingmastery instruction, for hitting and discrimination training, for pitch selection can be

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

References

6 0


‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

effective in teaching Little Leaguers to hit. After winning one of two baseline games, the team won 9 of their next 10 games and finished first in their league. 10. Implication. Shaping/chaining produces a disciplined, reasoned, progression of experiences that lead to gradual progressive improvements in learners, important features for successful instruction. Why this approach to learning is not universally embraced remains a mystery to this day. 11. Simek and O'Brien introduce the important parameter of requiring a particular performance criterion to be exhibited at each step before progression is undertaken. One successful trial does not substantiate learning where as a small number of repetitions does establish a reliable effect. This is a feature that is not stressed in the Rushall and Siedentop forward progression models of shaping. 12. BASEBALL HITTING CHAIN AND MASTERY CRITERIA Step Task Criteria Oversize wiffle ball and bast is held over Contact of 5 consecutive pitches 1. home plate. Player adjusts bat up and down to (pitches must be in strike zone). hit pitches from 8 feet away. Oversize wiffle ball and bat held halfway 2. Contact on 5 of 8 swings. from plate (mini-swing) pitches from 10 feet. Oversize softball and regulation Little League 3. Contact on 5 of 8 swings. bat. Mini swing t pitches from 10 feet. 4. Same ball and bat at 15 feet. Contact on 5 of 12 swings. 5. Same ball and bat at 22 feet Contact on 5 of 12 swings. 6. Same ball and bat at 30 feet Contact on 5 of 12 swings. Same ball and bat at regulation Little League 7. Contact of 5 of 12 swings. pitching distance (40 feet 6 inches) Regular Little League baseball and bat at 15 8. Contact on 5 of 12 swings. feet. 9. Same ball and bat as in Step 8 at 22 feet. Contact on 5 of 12 swings. 10. Sam ball and bast as in Step 8 at 30 feet. Contact on 5 of 12 swings. Same ball and bat as in Step 8 at regulation 11. Contact on 5 of 12 swings. distance. 13. DISCRIMINATION TRAINING PROGRAM AND MASTER CRITERIA Step Task Criteria Player at plate, without bat, calls pitch (strike 1. or ball) after pitch is in catcher's mitt and 7 out of 10 pitches called correctly. before umpire calls pitch. Player at plate with bat, but no swing. Calls 2. pitch (strike or ball) as or just before the pitch 7 out of 10 pitches called correctly. impacts the catcher's mitt. Player at plate with bat (no swing). Pitch must 3. be called (strike or ball) as the ball passes 7 out of 10 pitches called correctly. over the plate. 4. Player at plate with bat (no swing). Pitch must 7 out of 10 pitches called correctly.

6 1


be called (strike or ball) as the ball passes over white markers set 9 feet in front of the plate. In all cases, the umpire had the final decision as to whether a pitch was a strike or a ball. 14. Reference 15. Simek, T. C., & O'Brien, r. M. (1981). Total golf: A behavioral approach to lowering your score and getting more out of your game. New York, NY: Doubleday REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSIONS

A common characteristic of most physical activity instructors is the skill element progression taught to beginners. Textbooks frequently provide photo sequences starting at the initiation of the skill and ending at the "finish" position. This seems "logical" and is readily justified on the grounds that if a skill is not initiated properly, it will not be completed correctly. However, if the literature on instruction of non-verbal species is examined, it will be concluded that teaching progressions do not commence at the "start" and finish at the "end." Rather, the first element instructed is the last aspect of the behavior, the "terminal" element. Progressions of instruction are called "backward chaining" when elementary movements are required in a sequence and "backward shaping" when a single two-phase motor behavior is taught. The assumption that a logical start-to-finish instructional progression is the best can be debated. In forward progressions, students normally learn the early elements of a sequence reasonably well. However, as a chain grows longer, activities have to be performed before the new element can be acted. The imposition of behaving before attempting a new element eventually interferes with learning. When chains are long, the success of implementing new elements becomes quite difficult and errors increase, a result that needs to be avoided if efficient and effective learning is to occur. The interference caused by the activity prior to the attempted control of a new skill element is a major weakness with forward progression instruction. Forward progressions also invoke other behaviors which, as skill complexity increases, become detrimental to both the learning process and eventual performance. Learners often construct "mental check-lists" of instructed skill elements to ensure proper technique, resulting in cognitive control becoming an established part of covert behavior in the skill execution. Even in a simple skill such as a golf swing, such thought intrusions interfere with learning and skill development. In the length of time before a new element is acted, performance of that which has already been instructed intervenes, which promotes forgetting of what needs to be done. The mounting difficulty of introducing new elements into behavior chains increases anxiety, the frequency of negative self-appraisals, and the execution of errors. These phenomena further

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

[Extracted from Rushall, B. S. (1996). Some practical applications of psychology in physical activity settings. In K-W Kim (Ed.), The pursuit of sport excellence Vol. 2 (pp. 638-656). Seoul, Korea: Korean Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.]

6 2


hinder learning. Forward progressions usually produce skills which are executed well in the initial stages but deteriorate and exhibit weaknesses and faults as the sequence progresses. In spite of shortcomings, forward progressions as a teaching structure have been perpetuated and rarely questioned as to whether or not there is a better alternative.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The more traditional and effective way of instructing non-verbal species should be considered for humans. Discussions about backward or reverse progressions have appeared periodically in exercise-oriented literature (Chelladurai, & Stothart, 1978; Dusault, 1986; Rushall, & Ford, 1982; Sherman, & Rushall, 1993; Spooner & Spooner, 1984; Spooner, Spooner, & Ulicny, 1986). In reverse progressions, chains or skills are learned by teaching the last element of the skill first, the next-to-last second, etc. The completion of the skill or chain is the most practiced element. As the activity is performed, skill does not diminish as it progresses. This results in the execution of very safe landings, good follow-throughs, total skills, etc. None of the problems typically associated with forward progressions emerge in backward sequencing. The following figure contains a schematic of the two progressions and compares their elements.

6 3


An illustration of backward shaping with a golf swing will demonstrate the differences in these two concepts of instructional progressions. The grip is the first element that is taught irrespective of the progression used. The student should be able to form a satisfactory grip and wield the club in a variety of actions. From then on, the forward and backward progressions differ. After the grip, backward shaping dictates that the final follow-through position be taught. The learner is instructed that it is the terminal position that should be attained at the end of every trial. Knowing the criteria for judging that position allows the learner to execute covert positive reinforcement at the end of each trial if the criteria are achieved. Thus, every trial ends with the learner appraising whether the skill progression has or has not been achieved correctly. Successive steps move the club progressively further back in the "ideal" swing. Each step has the new element executed first, followed by the remainder of the skill which has been successfully performed on previous trials. The size of the step progressions should be sufficiently easy to minimize performance errors. When done correctly, this contrasts with the forward progression, which produces errors primarily due to the interference phenomenon and the progressive weakening of the skill strength.

     

interference does not occur since each new element precedes all previously "learned" elements, that is, the learner thinks of and executes a new technique element and follows it with what has been done successfully before, each step progression does not increase in difficulty since undivided attention can be focused on new content, attention is focused only on the new step and then established elements are performed to finish in the terminal position, there is a lack of tension/anxiety in the learner because of the simplicity of the task and its steps, and emotional problems are highly unlikely because step sizes are small, guarantee a high rate of success, and are typically understood clearly by the learner.

There are some skills that do not readily lend themselves to reverse progressions, for example, diving and jumping. In activities such as these, the total behavior should be executed with a moderate degree of proficiency. From then on, skill refinements should be emphasized in a reverse progression.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The major advantages of backward shaping/chaining over forward progressions can be summarized as follows:

When refining established skills, corrections are more effective when they are introduced in reverse order (Sherman & Rushall, 1993). The backward shaping of rowing ergometer technique was shown to produce fewer errors in the learning experience than a forward progression (Rushall, 1984). All the elements of a golf game were performed more efficiently when they were taught in a reverse progression (Simek & O'Brien, 1981). Comparisons of forward and backward chaining progressions in manual task instruction have shown the reverse procedure to be superior in developing speed, accuracy, fluency, and skill

6 4


maintenance (Martin, Koop, Tumer, & Hanel, 1981). It was also shown to be superior when teaching response chains (Weiss, 1978) and instructing military tasks (Cox & Boren, 1965). Reverse progressions are a viable alternative to traditional forward progressions in skill instruction. Teaching tackling would commence with the opponent and tackler lying on the ground in a firm hold position which would constitute "how the tackle should finish." An equivalent backward progression starting position would occur for various wrestling take-downs and counter moves. A small child learning to throw would practice follow-throughs and release actions prior to first holding a ball. The sequence of steps has to be devised for each sporting action and then the size of the step progressions individualized for the learner's capabilities.

1. The rate of learning is much faster than for forward progressions. With mentally retarded subjects, the learning rate for a backward progression is approximately equal to the rate for normal subjects using forward progressions. 2. The fewer errors increases a learner's self-concept and self-efficacy for physical activity pursuits. 3. The number of trials to criterion is significantly fewer when compared to forward progressions. 4. The resulting strength of the latter elements of skill performance leads to a higher level of skill performance than that which is generally achieved through forward progressions. Backward progressions for shaping or chaining should be tried as an alternative instructional procedure in physical activity pursuits. The experience will be rewarding for both the learner and instructor. References 1. Chelladurai, P., & Stothart, C. (1978). Backward chaining: A method of teaching motor skills. CAHPER Journal, 44(1), 26-29, 36-37. 2. Cox, J. A., & Boren, L. M. (1965). A study of backward chaining. Journal of Educational Psychology, 56, 270-274. 3. Dusault, C. (1986). A backward shaping progression of the volleyball spike approach and jump. Volleyball Technical Journal, 8, 33-41. 4. Martin, G. L., Koop, S., Tumer, G., & Hanel, F. (1981). Backward chaining versus total task presentation to teach assembly tasks to severely retarded persons. Behavior Research of Severe Developmental Disabilities, 2, 117-137. 5. Rushall, B. S. (1984). Applied rowing research report III: A sequential approach to teaching rowing technique - backward shaping. Unpublished research report for Wintario, Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, Government of Ontario, Canada. 6. Rushall, B. S., & Ford, D. (1982). Teaching backwards - an alternative skill instruction progression. CAHPER Journal, 48(5), 16-20.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Below are some personal claims about the efficacy of backward progressions. These statements can be readily assessed through appropriate research projects.

6 5


7. Sherman, C. A., & Rushall, B. S. (1993). Improving swimming stroke using reverse teaching: A case study. Applied Research in Coaching and Athletics Annual. (pp. 123143). 8. Simek, T. C., & O'Brien, R. M. (1981). Total golf: A behavioral approach to lowering your score and getting more out of your game. New York, NY: Doubleday. 9. Spooner, F., & Spooner D. (1984). A review of chaining techniques: Implications for further research and practice. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 19, 114-124. 10. Spooner, F., Spooner, D., & Ulicny, G. (1986). Comparisons of modified backward chaining: Backward chaining with leapaheads and reverse chaining with leapaheads. Education and Treatment of Children, 9, 122-134. 11. Weiss, K. M. (1978). A comparison of forward and backward procedures for the acquisition of response chains in humans. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 29, 255-259. TEACHING BACKWARDS - AN ALTERNATIVE SKILL INSTRUCTION PROGRESSION

One of the major characteristics common to the majority of sport instructors, irrespective of their individual approach and style of teaching, is the sequence in which beginners are taught skills. In the traditional order of instruction a logical progression is followed from the initiation of the skill unto its completion. For example, in the sport of golf the "swing" is taught in varying degrees of minute emphases starting with the grip, then the stance, backswing, downswing, and finally, the follow-through. However, the assumption that this logical progression is the best for instruction can be debated. It is the purpose of this article to question this traditional assumption and to suggest an alternative progression that is demonstrated with the skill of swinging a golf club. Weaknesses With the Traditional Sequencing of Instruction

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

[Modified version of Rushall, B. S., & Ford, D. (1982). Teaching backwards - An alternate skill instruction progression. CAHPER Journal, 48(5), 16-20.]

Before discussing an alternative method, it is necessary to examine some of the weaknesses and problems that are inherent with the forward progression of instruction. In most cases, the early lessons in golf instruction taken by a beginner will emphasize the grip, stance, and then probably a part swing or full swing. The grip and stance usually do not present major problems, although they will feel strange and uncomfortable, and will require many trials before they "feel right." Major problems usually occur when the beginner attempts to hit the ball, that is, any deficiencies in the segments prior to contacting the ball are manifested when contact is attempted. From there on many errors are committed and the rate of performance improvement varies greatly. The characteristic performance variation frustrates the beginner which in turn interferes with learning. Consequently, performance improvement and learning are hindered by the concomitant emotional response of the learner.

6 6


Unfortunately, the task of learning is made more difficult as the forward progression of instruction develops. The problem resides in the inability of the learner to focus all his/her attention on the new to-be-learned feature of the swing when it is introduced. The requirement of the beginner to rehearse, concentrate on, or remember previously introduced aspects of the swing before the new additional item can be attempted "interferes" with the learning of that item. As the swing development progresses more interference occurs. As a result, learning the latter features of the action becomes more difficult. This increased difficulty produces associated emotional problems as described above. This situation can account for many of the problems which are exhibited by beginning golfers, particularly those who are adults., The fact that one has to perform what has been learned before a new aspect can be attempted is the crux of the problem. It is contended that the interference that is caused by the activity prior to the attempted control of a new skill element is the weakness with forward progressions of instruction.

Further, as the progression is attempted the time for attempting the new segment is delayed more and more. This leads to the possibility of forgetting what needs to be done after all the previously "learned" segments have been attended to. Also for two-phase ballistic actions such as a golf swing or a throw, there is not sufficient time to cognitively control all the segments. They are completed before that is possible. The skill of forming appropriate motor plans (Gentile, 1972) prior to the execution of each trial is not developed in a beginner. Consequently, as the instruction progresses forward, improvement is made more difficult. The following figure illustrates difficulties with traditional forward progressions.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

A further weakness with the traditional order of teaching golf is that the beginner may find it difficult to remember all the different skill aspects. Usually, a mental "check-list" is formed and followed by the student. This often leads to the golfer standing over the ball trying to think of all the things that should be emitted before the new item of instruction is attempted. This "checking" often becomes a habit. Such thought intrusions during the execution of acts like a golf swing interfere with the learning and progression of the skill development. The reasons for this interference are several, but a commonly observed one is tension which contravenes the development of a rhythmical, fluent swing.

6 7


It is proposed that the forward progression of teaching skills is inefficient because: 1. 2. 3. 4.

learning becomes more difficult as the progression advances, a great deal of mental work is required of the learner, interference and thinking reduces the learning rate, and emotional contaminants further retard performance improvements.

Although this traditional logical progression of instruction is the most commonly observed sequence it does not necessarily mean that it is the best method of instruction. An Alternative Method

For teaching golf the grip is the first element that is taught irrespective of the progression used. The student should be able to form a satisfactory grip and wield the club in a variety of actions. From then on, the alternative and traditional methods differ. After the grip, the backward shaping procedure dictates that the final follow-through position is taught. The learner is made aware that this position must be attained for every swing trial. In learning terminology, the attainment of the final follow-through position should serve as a terminal reinforcer. Every subsequent trial should end at the-terminal follow-through position. The next step is to move the club out slightly and then swing it to the follow-through position. The beginner gradually progresses backward through the swing always completing each trial at the terminal reinforcer position. Each trial should be completed successfully if the progression is adhered to with each step being sufficiently easy to not cause any erroneous action. This contrasts with the forward progression which does produce errors, primarily due to the interference phenomenon.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The alternative method of instruction eliminates the problems found in the forward teaching progression. It involves the process termed "backward shaping." Backward chaining has been known as a viable instruction procedure for some time (Whaley & Malott, 1971). In that procedure elements of a behavior chain are learned by doing the last first, the next-to-last second, etc. For example, to learn a poem the line that is learned first is the last line, then the second last line is learned, and so on. This effective instructional strategy has rarely, if ever, been applied to learning a single-skill activity. This paper uses the golf swing as an example.

To illustrate the concept, an example will be given of the instructional steps followed for a 35 years-old adult who had never played the game. The next figure depicts the steps with line drawings that were copied from photographs of the subject. Each step is lettered and is represented by an individual figure.

6 8


Step B. Place the student in the full follow-through position and repeat until the instructor is satisfied that the position can be repeated accurately. Step C. Place the beginner in the part follow-through position as shown. From there have the student swing the club with accompanying body movements to the full follow-through position. Repeat until the instructor is satisfied that the action can be repeated. The sequence of movement is now AB.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Step A. Teach the grip and place the club on the ground so that a correct grip and club length can be attained.

Step D. Place the student in a position that starts the follow-through action. From there have the golfer swing the club with accompanying body movements to the initial follow-through position. Repeat until the instructor is satisfied that the action can be repeated. The sequence of movement is now D-C-B. Step E. Have the beginner placed in a position that is halfway between follow-through initiation and ball contact. Then swing the club through the previous steps to the final terminal position. Repeat until the action flows and is done to the satisfaction of the instructor. The sequence of movement is now E-D-C-B. Step F. Place the student in a position that would be that of just after impact with the ball. Then swing through the previous steps concentrating on flow of action. By this time, the learner

6 9


should be able to indicate whether the follow-through action and final position are .satisfactory. Repeat until the instructor is satisfied. The movement sequence is now F-E-D-C-B. Step G. Introduce the ball into the appropriate position. Place the club head about 12 inches behind the ball and instruct the student to "push" the ball off the ground and swing through to the follow-through position. This is a critical step for the push introduces linearity into the flat part of the swing. It also produces initial satisfying success in the learner as he/she is able to hit the ball straight from the very first contact. This phase should be repeated until the instructor is satisfied with the action and the learner is comfortable with contacting the ball. The sequence of movement is now G-F-E-D-C-B. Step H. Place the beginner in a position so that the club head is off the ground and near the end of the downswing. From there, complete all the previous steps concentrating on fluent movements and attaining the follow-through position. The movement sequence is now H-G-F-ED-C-B.

Step J. Place the beginner in a partial backswing position introducing a small, controlled hitch as the initiation to the backswing. Swing the club through the previous steps and repeat until the instructor is satisfied. The sequence of movement is now J-I-H-G-F-E-D-C-B. Step K. Place the student in the quarter backswing position, wind-up to the half backswing position, and swing through the movement sequence. The learner usually has a tendency to do too much backswing in this step. It may be necessary to physically restrain the amount of backswing to that practised in Step I. Repeat until the instructor is satisfied with the fluency of action and the nature of the contact with the ball. The movement sequence is now K-J-I-H-G-FE-D-C-B. Step L. The final step is to develop the ball address stance. Then initiate the previous movement sequence. The final sequence of the movement is L-K-J-I-H-G-F-E-D-C-B. The swing is complete once this final step has been satisfactorily executed.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Step I. Place the beginner in the half downswing position and complete the established sequence of movements to the instructor's satisfaction. The movement sequence is now I-H-G-F-E-D-C-B.

There are several features of the backward shaping process which need to be followed to ensure good teaching. 1. The progression from one step to the next is only followed when the step is performed adequately. A recommended minimal criterion for adequacy is five consecutive executions of a successful enactment. It would be best for the instructor to err on the side of being too strict rather than being too lenient with regard to this feature. 2. If errors are continually demonstrated, return to the previous satisfactorily executed step for further practice and successful performance. Then proceed once again with the backward sequence.

7 0


3. If a step is too difficult for the learner, that is, mastery or understanding is not shown, break the step down into further "mini-steps" but still adhere to the backward progression procedure. 4. If several practice sessions are undertaken (which is likely to be the case), each session should begin with a quick revision and practice of all the previous steps. 5. The instructor should attempt to be very demonstrative, positive, and congratulatory for every trial that is successfully completed. For the subject depicted in Figure 1, the teaching process was conducted indoors using plastic practice golf balls. The total indoor instruction time was 3 1/2 hours spread over 11 days. The sequence of steps described was satisfactory for this subject. it is likely that the step sequence will have to be modified according to the attributes of the individual learner. It is best to progress with too many steps rather than to attempt too few.

To further evaluate the backward shaping teaching method, the subject was "field-tested." He was required to hit 50 balls with a 7 iron from a particular position toward a target 140 yards away. These were the first solid balls that he had hit and were the first shots made outdoors and at a target. Of the shots, 24 traveled over 100 yards and were within 15 yards either side of the line from position to target. In essence, almost half the balls stroked were successful shots. This is a very notable level of performance and suggests that this method of instruction is very effective. However, further testing of the procedure needs to be conducted before a definitive statement can be made as to the absolute value of the backward shaping progression. What are the Advantages of Backward Shaping?

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

It should be noted that from Steps I and J that only the half backswing and half downswing positions were taught. This was done to prevent "over-swinging". It was assumed that the beginner would naturally take the club back to a fuller swing position as confidence was gained. This assumption proved correct as was evidenced in the "field test". What was interesting was that the individual concerned did not "over-swing." over-swinging is a common problem with the traditional forward progression method where a full backswing is usually taught early in the instructional sequence.

The major benefit of the backward shaping technique is that it overcomes all the disadvantages of the forward progression method. Interference does not occur since each new element precedes all previously "learned" elements, that is, the learner thinks of the new technique item content and then does what has been done successfully before. Each progression does not increase in difficulty through interference since undivided attention can be focused on the new step element to be learned. The formation of a mental check-list is not necessary because of the naturally occurring actions and successful completions that occur. Attention is focused only on the new step content and achieving the terminal follow-through position. There is an obvious lack of tension in the learner because of the simplicity of the task and its steps. Emotional problems did not occur in this demonstration subject and are not likely to occur while step sizes are small, guarantee a high rate of success, and are clearly understood by the learner. The following figure illustrates the structure and characteristics of backward progressions.

7 1


Backward shaping is advocated as being a viable alternative to the traditional forward progression of instruction. It may not be appropriate for some activities but does have widespread potential. For example, teaching tackling would be commenced with the opponent and tackler lying on the ground in a firm hold position which would constitute the terminal tackling position. Gradually, the two individuals rise up, practice contact and holding, until the last step when the tackler runs in to make the tackle. A similar backward progression would occur for various wrestling take-downs and counter moves. Perhaps the shot putter would assume the follow-through position and work backward through the action. when teaching children to throw a similar backward progression would be advised. The sequence of steps would have to be devised and experimented with for each sporting action. This article describes something new. Its value is best determined by those involved with teaching. Theory, laboratory investigations, and limited researches suggest great advantages for backward shaping over traditional forward teaching progressions. It is suggested that it be tried as an alternative instructional procedure. There is evidence that the experience will be rewarding for both the learner and instructor. Experimentation is in order! References

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

A Challenge

1. Gentile, A. M. (1972), A working model of skill acquisition with application to teaching. Quest, 17, 3-23. 2. Whaley, D. L., & Malott, R. W. (1971). Elementary principles of behavior. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts. ALTERING AND IMPROVING SWIMMING TECHNIQUE USING A REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION [An abridged version of Sherman, C. A., & Rushall, B. S. (1993). Improving swimming stroke using reverse teaching: a case study. In W. K. Simpson, A. D. LeUnes, & J. S. Picou, (Eds.), Applied research in coaching and athletics annual 1993. Boston, MA: American Press.]

7 2


Introduction

Most discussions of reverse teaching progression in the coaching literature have consisted of descriptions of the progressions but not of data collected during an application of the procedure. For example, Chelladurai and Stothart (1978) suggested backward chaining as an acceptable procedure for basketball skills (lay-ups) and volleyball spiking technique. Dusault (1986) also suggested that volleyball spiking technique could be enhanced in the learning phases with backward shaping procedures. However, no empirical data were presented in these papers. To that end, the purpose of the present study was to plan and implement a reverse progression teaching strategy for the repetitive skill of front crawl swimming. This application was intended to describe in detail the procedures, treatments, and results involved in modifying an already successful swimmer's hand and arm technique. Method Participant S was an elite Canadian 16-year old female swimmer who had observable topographical deficiencies in front crawl swimming technique. She had 10 years of competitive swimming experience, and had qualified for finals at the national championships as well as being ranked as the best in a number of events for her age group. She was training seriously at the time of this study.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Teaching with reverse progressions is one behavioral coaching procedure described in the sportsrelated literature (Chelladurai & Stothart, 1978; Rushall & Ford, 1982) and sometimes called backward chaining or backward shaping. With reverse teaching progressions, the behavior to be trained is defined by the trainer as comprising two or more components, which are serially ordered. Training begins with establishment of the final or terminal component. After a criterion performance of this position is reached, training proceeds to a sequence that comprises the immediately preceding component, followed by the terminal component. Once this step or link has met criterion performance the next preceding component is added and so on, until the learner performs all the components in smooth succession always finishing with the terminal component.

Setting and Sessions An indoor heated 50-meter pool was used. Individual coaching and strategy implementation were performed by the senior author. After an initial observation session, three more sessions were conducted during regular training times in a sectioned area of the pool. Each session took approximately 40 minutes to complete. Equipment Swimming goggles were worn by both S and investigator. A pull-buoy to restrict the leg movements and a kick board to restrict unnecessary movement of the non-moving hand were used during the early stages of instruction.

7 3


Procedure Behavior of interest. The front crawl arm stroke technique was chosen as the behavior of interest in this study. Initial assessment of S's swimming technique was paired with the corresponding correct arm and hand components described by Maglischo (1982). This resulted in a list of incorrect components in the swimming movement pattern of S's arm and hand. Definitions of the correct technical elements and the observed errors were formed. Preliminary session. A single preliminary session was used to make initial observations of S. S's coach served as an independent observer. As S swam warm-up and race pace 25 meter lengths, observations were made from the pool decking both laterally and frontally. Further observations were made from beneath the water surface. As front crawl arm stroke technique faults were detected and agreed on by both observers they were recorded.

Reverse teaching progression sessions Three 40 minute sessions were used to apply the reverse teaching strategy. In all three sessions the investigator and S were in chest deep water in a sectioned-off lane of the pool. First session. S was given a preliminary explanation regarding the aims and goals to be achieved. No mention of her incorrect technique was made. However, it was noted that possible changes to her technique could improve her swimming efficiency. S was then prompted with demonstration and description of the first teaching step. This was the correct terminal component (TC) of one arm and hand which was to be engaged in by S at the end of every step of the instruction (see Table 1). S was then required to hold this arm position while lying horizontally on the water surface. In this position, and most other developmental steps throughout the procedure, S was required to use a pull-buoy to restrict leg movement and hold a kick-board to restrict unnecessary movement of the free hand. The localization of only one moving arm allowed the swimmer to concentrate on and experience more acutely the sensations that accompanied correct arm and hand movements.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Both warm-up and race-pace swimming were observed to assess stroke rate and speed. S performed 10 repetitions of 25 meters of swimming first at warm-up pace and then at race pace (20 repetitions total). The time, using hand-held electronic stop-watches, and number of strokes taken for each length were measured and recorded by both observers. This evaluation was repeated after the completion of the reverse teaching progression procedure so that a comparison of pre- and post-instruction data was possible.

When the investigator was satisfied with S's demonstration and familiarity of the correct finish position for each hand, she was prompted to perform component A (Table 1) followed immediately by the terminal component and to continue this sequence for 25 meters of the pool. The linking of component A and the terminal component (A+TC) in that order, was the requirement for step 1 (Table 2) of the reverse teaching progression. Step 2 (Table 2) consisted of the same as step 1, however, with focus only on the left hand (B+TC). Step 3 (Table 2) reverted back to the right hand (C+A+TC) and so on until all 13 steps were completed.

7 4


Note: Each step included the previously completed components and always finished with the terminal component (TC). TABLE 2. REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION STEPS AND SERIAL COMPONENT ORDER Step Component Order 1 A+TC 2 B+TC 3 C+A+TC 4 D+B+TC 5 E+C+A+TC 6 F+D+B+TC 7 G+E+C+A+TC 8 H+F+D+B+TC 9 I+G+E+C+A+TC 10 J+H+F+D+B+TC 11 K+I+G+E+C+A+TC 12 L+J+H+F+D+B+TC continual swimming using all 13 components

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

TABLE 1. REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION COMPONENTS AND CONTENT Component Behavior Content Arm has completed backsweep and hand touches thigh. Terminal(TC) Little finger is closest to water surface. A Half insweep and full backsweep with right hand. B As for "A" with left hand. C Half downsweep with right hand. D As for "C" with left hand. E Full downsweep with right hand. F As for "E" with left hand. G Right hand entry. H Left hand entry. I Half arm recovery with right hand. J As for "I" with left hand. K Release and recovery with right hand. L As for "K" with left hand. M Full arm stroke using both arms.

7 5


After S had experienced the initial requirements she was told that if she could perform four consecutive errorless 25 meter lengths for step 1 (Table 2) A + TC, then the next step would be introduced. She then attempted this requirement and after completing the first length an error was detected and corrected by the investigator. A verbal prompt for the required hand position was given in order to correct the fault and the count of trial lengths was restarted. The investigator recorded both trial errors and successes using pencil and pad kept near the side of the pool. The first session continued with S progressing through the first four steps, always requiring four errorless 25 meter lengths in succession before moving on to the next step. Therefore, the correct execution of each new instructional component, as well as the ability to correctly demonstrate all the previous components of the technique, were necessary prior to the addition of the next step. This meant that the criterion for a successful trial became more complex and demanding as the progression advanced. Only one other error was detected in this first session which occurred on the second trial length of step 2 (B+TP). Second session. This occurred at the same time the next day. Once again S was required to fulfill the same criteria as the previous session. Steps 5 to 8 (Table 2) with components E to H (Table 1) were included and S made four errors. Final session. This also occurred at the same time the next day. Steps 9 to 13 (Table 2), including components I to M (Table 1), were completed and only three errors were recorded. Step 13 (Table 2) with component M (Table 1) employed the first use of both arms moving in the normal swimming fashion for the 25 meter lengths. Kicking was not allowed at any time. This only occurred outside the teaching sessions when the swimmer resumed normal training. At no time were restrictions made on breathing. However, it was preferred if S could cover as much distance as possible for each length on the minimum number of breaths. This was to ensure that S was watching her hand movements as closely as possible.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

For the partial arm cycles required in most of the early steps, the action was stopped at the finish position (TC) so that the sensation of the body gliding through the water as a result of the action could be experienced. Recovery of the moving hand after reaching the finish position was performed under water, hence a slight delay occurred after each body glide. During the demonstration of the initial 25 meters and all other swims, S was viewed from beneath the water surface so as to observe any errors. There were no errors detected during the first trial and on completion S was given social praise and performance evaluation that constituted positive knowledge of results. S's gradual improvement in velocity maintenance and glide distance also served as a more immediate consequence of changes in stroke topography.

Follow-up session. The day after the instructional procedure was completed, the initial testing for time and stroke count over 25 meters at warm-up and race paces was repeated. The coobserver evaluated the two performance features with the intent of establishing the reliability of the primary investigator's observations. Observations were again made regarding S's arm stroke technique for front crawl and all data were recorded. Results Inter-observer Analysis

7 6


The initial evaluation session resulted in producing a status description and list of S's inefficient technique elements for front crawl swimming. Those observations were verified by the coach. After Session 3, the observers agreed and concluded that none of the original erroneous elements were evident in the swimmer's stroke. Those observations served as independent verifications of the investigator's objectivity and accuracy. The observers independently measured the time and number of strokes for each 25 meter swim in the post-treatment evaluation swims. The results recorded by the coach were in perfect agreement with the measurements taken by the first author. The number of strokes decreased from 19 to 16 (15.8%) at warm-up speed, and 22 to 20 (-9.1%) at race speed. The time for a 25-meter length decreased from 20.1 to 19.3 (-4%) seconds at warm-up speed, and 16.4 to 15.9 (-3.1 %) seconds at race speed. Consistent and successful learning was evidenced. Few errors occurred (two in Session 1, five in Session 2, and three in Session 3) and were usually followed by immediate correction. Only in step 13 with component M (hand release) was an error repeated (twice). Overall, 10 incorrect trials among the total 75 trials were recorded.

During the implementation of the instructional sequence, S admitted to feeling a change in the stroke technique. She reported increased amounts of local arm fatigue and after-training soreness, two indications that different muscles or parts of muscles were being used. After several training sessions, the discomfort disappeared. The coach remarked favorably about the unobtrusiveness and speed of the technique alteration. He stated that he would attempt to employ the strategy with other athletes and would recommend it to other coaches. The procedure was deemed to be acceptable to the athlete and the coach and to have social validity. Discussion This investigation aimed to demonstrate the effects of teaching behavioral components in a reverse progression. The common and popular forward instructional progressions diminish in effectiveness when they are long or involved or are used to alter an existing technique. Reverse progressions are supposed to be more effective for changing behavior as well as facilitating the occurrence of very few errors.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Social Validation

Traditional swim coaching attempts to instruct techniques in a forward progression. The hand entry is usually taught first, then followed by the attempt to exert productive forces underwater, followed by aspects of the recovery. Progressions are of varied numbers of steps and step detail. It is easy to understand why coaches adhere to forward progressions since film sequences of good stroking follow that sequence and it seems a "logical" order. However, because self-evident justifications exist for adopting a progression that does not mean they are the best for ordering the presentation of instructions and steps. The swimmer in this study altered a considerable number of front crawl technique features that had existed in her stroke for a long time. Those changes occurred in a very short time period. When one reflects on the number of items and their anticipated difficulty for changing, what was

7 7


demonstrated is quite remarkable. The topography or technique of the underwater stroking action was altered in three 40-minute instructional sessions.

1. There was only one swimmer in the instructional group. This allowed for an intense instructional session that facilitated the athlete's total concentration. This period of dedicated application may be a very formidable aspect for producing dramatic learning in a swimmer. 2. Each trial produced a rich set of consequences that directly reflected the intention for learning on that trial. The power of contingent and continuous reinforcement in the form of praise and knowledge of results cannot be overestimated. The situation that confronted S was markedly different to that which usually exists in instructional periods in a group training setting. In the more usual circumstance reinforcement is rare and not always contingent upon behavior. The variation and inconsistency in its presentation produces no consistent theme of development leaving most participants to react to natural contingencies which exist in the swimming environment which, in turn, produce the adoption of convenient movement patterns. Often those movement patterns are not the most efficient actions. Isolated attempts by coaches to instruct technique changes usually have a transitory effect for they do not establish consistent sequences of reinforcement that are contingent upon repetitious forms of response. 3. The reverse teaching progression always presented new components to be learned as the first element in any practice trial. This allowed the swimmer to focus completely on the new instructional challenge and then follow it by doing what had been completed successfully in the previous steps to finish at a particular stroking posture that could serve as an intrinsic reinforcer indicating completion of a successful performance. This is one of the major strengths of reverse progressions, the swimmer always knows what has to be done to be successful after a new component is attempted. That does not occur with a forward progression teaching. 4. The progression was implemented according to the usual criteria for successful effects. The steps were of sufficiently small size to allow S to easily progress without making repeated errors. Seven of the ten errors occurred on the first trial of a step. This may have been due to the inadequacy of the prompts that were administered. The experience of being overwhelmingly successful and correct in learning attempts is a critical feature of effective instruction. The number of correct trials is associated with performance improvement more than any other topographical feature of skill instruction (Ashy, Landin, & Lee, 1988). The manner in which this reverse teaching progression was implemented facilitated a very large number of correct trials and very few errors. 5. The alterations achieved in the swimmer's technique were components that occurred underwater. Since that is where propulsion is generated they should have the greatest effect on performance. To produce these changes it was necessary that the swimmer be analyzed under water. Few, if any coaches instruct from this viewpoint. They tend to teach from the deck and emphasize those features that are readily observable (e.g., the recovery, entry, and early pull). Thus, the emphasis on very influential performance

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Essentially, the instructional strategy was a "package" of teaching components. Some of the most note worthy aspects of that package are described below.

7 8


factors that occurred in this investigation could be a significant reason for the dramatic performance changes observed. These features are some of the basic ingredients of effective teaching that were demonstrated in this investigation. However, one important feature was not entertained, the stretching of the reinforcement schedule to produce response permanence once the total terminal behavior was exhibited. S's lack of availability prohibited this from occurring. If any reader were to attempt to implement reverse progression teaching strategies, it is necessary that he/she add this vital feature.

If only the time for the test distance was improved, it would be reasonable to assert that the change was due to any number of causes. However, the speed change was yoked to a reduction in strokes taken over the set distance. That means the efficiency of swimming was improved at both warm-up (sub-maximum) and race (maximum) speeds. At sub-maximum speeds, the stroking efficiency improved by 15.8 percent which resulted in a 4 percent improvement in speed. At maximum speeds, stroking efficiency improved by 9.1 percent and speed by 3.1 percent. These effects are very noteworthy in an elite swimmer. They meant that technique changes alone produced very significant increase in performance during training. Most elite swimmers would rejoice at improving performance by more than 3% as a result of one or more year's training. That this effect was achieved in less than a week underscores two things. First, very significant improvements can result from technique alterations, particularly those actions which occur underwater. Second, the application of an effective teaching strategy can produce very rapid behavior and performance changes, the rate of which is rarely witnessed in swimming settings.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The objective improvements in S's swimming stroke were undeniable. The strategy accurately altered an existing technique to include new and more correct elements. Observations of pre- and post-intervention performance characteristics verified this result. Not only did the skill topography change, but so did performance. At both warm-up and race speeds the distance covered per stroke was improved as was the time for the 25-meter distance. These effects were verified by independent observation as well as the subjective comments of the swimmer and her coach.

The use of continuous contingent reinforcement in the forms of verbal praise and performance information, the consistent prompting of step elements, the significant frequency of correct skill attempts, and the presentation of a progression of learning that facilitated easy learning were part of the "instructional package" in this demonstration. These ingredients should be consistent features of effective coaching. Unfortunately, they are not emphasized enough in coaching manuals, instructional courses, or symposia. The package of reverse progression teaching elements employed in this investigation offers a clearly defined and measurable strategy for coaching efficient sporting techniques. It produced very few errors in the learning experience and obvious behavior changes. The speed with which the technique changes were achieved was very impressive.

7 9


This study focused on and reinforced the importance and practicality of reverse progression teaching as an effective instructional strategy for elite athletes. It was demonstrated as a vehicle for altering established techniques. It is equally effective for producing new techniques but the demonstration of that use will have to remain the province of another investigation.

1. Ashy, M. H., Landin, D. K., & Lee, A. M. (1988). Relationship of practice using correct technique to achievement in a motor skill. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 7, 115-120. 2. Chelladurai, P., & Stothart, C. (1978). Backward chaining: A method of teaching motor skills. CAHPER Journal, 1, 26-29, 36-37. 3. Cox, J. A., & Boren, L. M. (1965). A study of backward chaining. Journal of Educational Psychology, 56, 270-274. 4. Dusault, C. (1986). A backward shaping progression of the volleyball spike approach and jump. Volleyball Technical Journal, 8, 33-41. 5. Koop, S. & Martin, G. 1. (1983). Evaluation of a coaching strategy to reduce swimming stroke errors with beginning age-group swimmers. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16, 447-460. 6. Maglischo, E. W. (1982). Swimming faster. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield. 7. Martin, G . L., Koop, S., Turner, G., & Hanel, F. (1981). Backward chaining versus total task presentation to teach assembly tasks to severely retarded persons. Behavior Research of Severe Developmental Disabilities, 2, 117-137. 8. Rushall, B. S., & Ford, D. (1982). Teaching backwards - an alternative skill instruction progression. CAHPER Journal, 48(5), 16-20. 9. Simek, T. C., & O'Brien, R. M. (1981). Total golf. A behavioral approach to lowering your score and getting more out of your game. New York, NY: Doubleday. 10. Spooner, F., & Spooner, D. (1984). A review of chaining techniques: Implications for further research and practice. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 19, 114-124. 11. Spooner, F., Spooner, D.,& Ulicny, G. (1986). Comparisons of modified backward chaining: Backward chaining with leapaheads and reverse chaining with leapaheads. Education and Treatment of Children, 9, 122-134. 12. Weiss, K. M. (1978). A comparison of forward and backward procedures for the acquisition of response chains in humans. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 29, 255-259.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

References

ALTERING AND IMPROVING SWIMMING TECHNIQUE USING A REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION [An abridged version of Sherman, C. A., & Rushall, B. S. (1993). Improving swimming stroke using reverse teaching: a case study. In W. K. Simpson, A. D. LeUnes, & J. S. Picou, (Eds.), Applied research in coaching and athletics annual 1993. Boston, MA: American Press.]

8 0


Introduction

Most discussions of reverse teaching progression in the coaching literature have consisted of descriptions of the progressions but not of data collected during an application of the procedure. For example, Chelladurai and Stothart (1978) suggested backward chaining as an acceptable procedure for basketball skills (lay-ups) and volleyball spiking technique. Dusault (1986) also suggested that volleyball spiking technique could be enhanced in the learning phases with backward shaping procedures. However, no empirical data were presented in these papers. To that end, the purpose of the present study was to plan and implement a reverse progression teaching strategy for the repetitive skill of front crawl swimming. This application was intended to describe in detail the procedures, treatments, and results involved in modifying an already successful swimmer's hand and arm technique. Method Participant S was an elite Canadian 16-year old female swimmer who had observable topographical deficiencies in front crawl swimming technique. She had 10 years of competitive swimming experience, and had qualified for finals at the national championships as well as being ranked as the best in a number of events for her age group. She was training seriously at the time of this study.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Teaching with reverse progressions is one behavioral coaching procedure described in the sportsrelated literature (Chelladurai & Stothart, 1978; Rushall & Ford, 1982) and sometimes called backward chaining or backward shaping. With reverse teaching progressions, the behavior to be trained is defined by the trainer as comprising two or more components, which are serially ordered. Training begins with establishment of the final or terminal component. After a criterion performance of this position is reached, training proceeds to a sequence that comprises the immediately preceding component, followed by the terminal component. Once this step or link has met criterion performance the next preceding component is added and so on, until the learner performs all the components in smooth succession always finishing with the terminal component.

Setting and Sessions An indoor heated 50-meter pool was used. Individual coaching and strategy implementation were performed by the senior author. After an initial observation session, three more sessions were conducted during regular training times in a sectioned area of the pool. Each session took approximately 40 minutes to complete. Equipment Swimming goggles were worn by both S and investigator. A pull-buoy to restrict the leg movements and a kick board to restrict unnecessary movement of the non-moving hand were used during the early stages of instruction.

8 1


Procedure Behavior of interest. The front crawl arm stroke technique was chosen as the behavior of interest in this study. Initial assessment of S's swimming technique was paired with the corresponding correct arm and hand components described by Maglischo (1982). This resulted in a list of incorrect components in the swimming movement pattern of S's arm and hand. Definitions of the correct technical elements and the observed errors were formed. Preliminary session. A single preliminary session was used to make initial observations of S. S's coach served as an independent observer. As S swam warm-up and race pace 25 meter lengths, observations were made from the pool decking both laterally and frontally. Further observations were made from beneath the water surface. As front crawl arm stroke technique faults were detected and agreed on by both observers they were recorded.

Reverse teaching progression sessions Three 40 minute sessions were used to apply the reverse teaching strategy. In all three sessions the investigator and S were in chest deep water in a sectioned-off lane of the pool. First session. S was given a preliminary explanation regarding the aims and goals to be achieved. No mention of her incorrect technique was made. However, it was noted that possible changes to her technique could improve her swimming efficiency. S was then prompted with demonstration and description of the first teaching step. This was the correct terminal component (TC) of one arm and hand which was to be engaged in by S at the end of every step of the instruction (see Table 1). S was then required to hold this arm position while lying horizontally on the water surface. In this position, and most other developmental steps throughout the procedure, S was required to use a pull-buoy to restrict leg movement and hold a kick-board to restrict unnecessary movement of the free hand. The localization of only one moving arm allowed the swimmer to concentrate on and experience more acutely the sensations that accompanied correct arm and hand movements.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Both warm-up and race-pace swimming were observed to assess stroke rate and speed. S performed 10 repetitions of 25 meters of swimming first at warm-up pace and then at race pace (20 repetitions total). The time, using hand-held electronic stop-watches, and number of strokes taken for each length were measured and recorded by both observers. This evaluation was repeated after the completion of the reverse teaching progression procedure so that a comparison of pre- and post-instruction data was possible.

When the investigator was satisfied with S's demonstration and familiarity of the correct finish position for each hand, she was prompted to perform component A (Table 1) followed immediately by the terminal component and to continue this sequence for 25 meters of the pool. The linking of component A and the terminal component (A+TC) in that order, was the requirement for step 1 (Table 2) of the reverse teaching progression. Step 2 (Table 2) consisted of the same as step 1, however, with focus only on the left hand (B+TC). Step 3 (Table 2) reverted back to the right hand (C+A+TC) and so on until all 13 steps were completed.

8 2


Note: Each step included the previously completed components and always finished with the terminal component (TC). TABLE 2. REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION STEPS AND SERIAL COMPONENT ORDER Step Component Order 1 A+TC 2 B+TC 3 C+A+TC 4 D+B+TC 5 E+C+A+TC 6 F+D+B+TC 7 G+E+C+A+TC 8 H+F+D+B+TC 9 I+G+E+C+A+TC 10 J+H+F+D+B+TC 11 K+I+G+E+C+A+TC 12 L+J+H+F+D+B+TC continual swimming using all 13 components

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

TABLE 1. REVERSE TEACHING PROGRESSION COMPONENTS AND CONTENT Component Behavior Content Arm has completed backsweep and hand touches thigh. Terminal(TC) Little finger is closest to water surface. A Half insweep and full backsweep with right hand. B As for "A" with left hand. C Half downsweep with right hand. D As for "C" with left hand. E Full downsweep with right hand. F As for "E" with left hand. G Right hand entry. H Left hand entry. I Half arm recovery with right hand. J As for "I" with left hand. K Release and recovery with right hand. L As for "K" with left hand. M Full arm stroke using both arms.

8 3


After S had experienced the initial requirements she was told that if she could perform four consecutive errorless 25 meter lengths for step 1 (Table 2) A + TC, then the next step would be introduced. She then attempted this requirement and after completing the first length an error was detected and corrected by the investigator. A verbal prompt for the required hand position was given in order to correct the fault and the count of trial lengths was restarted. The investigator recorded both trial errors and successes using pencil and pad kept near the side of the pool. The first session continued with S progressing through the first four steps, always requiring four errorless 25 meter lengths in succession before moving on to the next step. Therefore, the correct execution of each new instructional component, as well as the ability to correctly demonstrate all the previous components of the technique, were necessary prior to the addition of the next step. This meant that the criterion for a successful trial became more complex and demanding as the progression advanced. Only one other error was detected in this first session which occurred on the second trial length of step 2 (B+TP). Second session. This occurred at the same time the next day. Once again S was required to fulfill the same criteria as the previous session. Steps 5 to 8 (Table 2) with components E to H (Table 1) were included and S made four errors. Final session. This also occurred at the same time the next day. Steps 9 to 13 (Table 2), including components I to M (Table 1), were completed and only three errors were recorded. Step 13 (Table 2) with component M (Table 1) employed the first use of both arms moving in the normal swimming fashion for the 25 meter lengths. Kicking was not allowed at any time. This only occurred outside the teaching sessions when the swimmer resumed normal training. At no time were restrictions made on breathing. However, it was preferred if S could cover as much distance as possible for each length on the minimum number of breaths. This was to ensure that S was watching her hand movements as closely as possible.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

For the partial arm cycles required in most of the early steps, the action was stopped at the finish position (TC) so that the sensation of the body gliding through the water as a result of the action could be experienced. Recovery of the moving hand after reaching the finish position was performed under water, hence a slight delay occurred after each body glide. During the demonstration of the initial 25 meters and all other swims, S was viewed from beneath the water surface so as to observe any errors. There were no errors detected during the first trial and on completion S was given social praise and performance evaluation that constituted positive knowledge of results. S's gradual improvement in velocity maintenance and glide distance also served as a more immediate consequence of changes in stroke topography.

Follow-up session. The day after the instructional procedure was completed, the initial testing for time and stroke count over 25 meters at warm-up and race paces was repeated. The coobserver evaluated the two performance features with the intent of establishing the reliability of the primary investigator's observations. Observations were again made regarding S's arm stroke technique for front crawl and all data were recorded. Results Inter-observer Analysis

8 4


The initial evaluation session resulted in producing a status description and list of S's inefficient technique elements for front crawl swimming. Those observations were verified by the coach. After Session 3, the observers agreed and concluded that none of the original erroneous elements were evident in the swimmer's stroke. Those observations served as independent verifications of the investigator's objectivity and accuracy. The observers independently measured the time and number of strokes for each 25 meter swim in the post-treatment evaluation swims. The results recorded by the coach were in perfect agreement with the measurements taken by the first author. The number of strokes decreased from 19 to 16 (15.8%) at warm-up speed, and 22 to 20 (-9.1%) at race speed. The time for a 25-meter length decreased from 20.1 to 19.3 (-4%) seconds at warm-up speed, and 16.4 to 15.9 (-3.1 %) seconds at race speed. Consistent and successful learning was evidenced. Few errors occurred (two in Session 1, five in Session 2, and three in Session 3) and were usually followed by immediate correction. Only in step 13 with component M (hand release) was an error repeated (twice). Overall, 10 incorrect trials among the total 75 trials were recorded.

During the implementation of the instructional sequence, S admitted to feeling a change in the stroke technique. She reported increased amounts of local arm fatigue and after-training soreness, two indications that different muscles or parts of muscles were being used. After several training sessions, the discomfort disappeared. The coach remarked favorably about the unobtrusiveness and speed of the technique alteration. He stated that he would attempt to employ the strategy with other athletes and would recommend it to other coaches. The procedure was deemed to be acceptable to the athlete and the coach and to have social validity. Discussion This investigation aimed to demonstrate the effects of teaching behavioral components in a reverse progression. The common and popular forward instructional progressions diminish in effectiveness when they are long or involved or are used to alter an existing technique. Reverse progressions are supposed to be more effective for changing behavior as well as facilitating the occurrence of very few errors.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Social Validation

Traditional swim coaching attempts to instruct techniques in a forward progression. The hand entry is usually taught first, then followed by the attempt to exert productive forces underwater, followed by aspects of the recovery. Progressions are of varied numbers of steps and step detail. It is easy to understand why coaches adhere to forward progressions since film sequences of good stroking follow that sequence and it seems a "logical" order. However, because self-evident justifications exist for adopting a progression that does not mean they are the best for ordering the presentation of instructions and steps. The swimmer in this study altered a considerable number of front crawl technique features that had existed in her stroke for a long time. Those changes occurred in a very short time period. When one reflects on the number of items and their anticipated difficulty for changing, what was

8 5


demonstrated is quite remarkable. The topography or technique of the underwater stroking action was altered in three 40-minute instructional sessions.

1. There was only one swimmer in the instructional group. This allowed for an intense instructional session that facilitated the athlete's total concentration. This period of dedicated application may be a very formidable aspect for producing dramatic learning in a swimmer. 2. Each trial produced a rich set of consequences that directly reflected the intention for learning on that trial. The power of contingent and continuous reinforcement in the form of praise and knowledge of results cannot be overestimated. The situation that confronted S was markedly different to that which usually exists in instructional periods in a group training setting. In the more usual circumstance reinforcement is rare and not always contingent upon behavior. The variation and inconsistency in its presentation produces no consistent theme of development leaving most participants to react to natural contingencies which exist in the swimming environment which, in turn, produce the adoption of convenient movement patterns. Often those movement patterns are not the most efficient actions. Isolated attempts by coaches to instruct technique changes usually have a transitory effect for they do not establish consistent sequences of reinforcement that are contingent upon repetitious forms of response. 3. The reverse teaching progression always presented new components to be learned as the first element in any practice trial. This allowed the swimmer to focus completely on the new instructional challenge and then follow it by doing what had been completed successfully in the previous steps to finish at a particular stroking posture that could serve as an intrinsic reinforcer indicating completion of a successful performance. This is one of the major strengths of reverse progressions, the swimmer always knows what has to be done to be successful after a new component is attempted. That does not occur with a forward progression teaching. 4. The progression was implemented according to the usual criteria for successful effects. The steps were of sufficiently small size to allow S to easily progress without making repeated errors. Seven of the ten errors occurred on the first trial of a step. This may have been due to the inadequacy of the prompts that were administered. The experience of being overwhelmingly successful and correct in learning attempts is a critical feature of effective instruction. The number of correct trials is associated with performance improvement more than any other topographical feature of skill instruction (Ashy, Landin, & Lee, 1988). The manner in which this reverse teaching progression was implemented facilitated a very large number of correct trials and very few errors. 5. The alterations achieved in the swimmer's technique were components that occurred underwater. Since that is where propulsion is generated they should have the greatest effect on performance. To produce these changes it was necessary that the swimmer be analyzed under water. Few, if any coaches instruct from this viewpoint. They tend to teach from the deck and emphasize those features that are readily observable (e.g., the recovery, entry, and early pull). Thus, the emphasis on very influential performance

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Essentially, the instructional strategy was a "package" of teaching components. Some of the most note worthy aspects of that package are described below.

8 6


factors that occurred in this investigation could be a significant reason for the dramatic performance changes observed. These features are some of the basic ingredients of effective teaching that were demonstrated in this investigation. However, one important feature was not entertained, the stretching of the reinforcement schedule to produce response permanence once the total terminal behavior was exhibited. S's lack of availability prohibited this from occurring. If any reader were to attempt to implement reverse progression teaching strategies, it is necessary that he/she add this vital feature.

If only the time for the test distance was improved, it would be reasonable to assert that the change was due to any number of causes. However, the speed change was yoked to a reduction in strokes taken over the set distance. That means the efficiency of swimming was improved at both warm-up (sub-maximum) and race (maximum) speeds. At sub-maximum speeds, the stroking efficiency improved by 15.8 percent which resulted in a 4 percent improvement in speed. At maximum speeds, stroking efficiency improved by 9.1 percent and speed by 3.1 percent. These effects are very noteworthy in an elite swimmer. They meant that technique changes alone produced very significant increase in performance during training. Most elite swimmers would rejoice at improving performance by more than 3% as a result of one or more year's training. That this effect was achieved in less than a week underscores two things. First, very significant improvements can result from technique alterations, particularly those actions which occur underwater. Second, the application of an effective teaching strategy can produce very rapid behavior and performance changes, the rate of which is rarely witnessed in swimming settings.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The objective improvements in S's swimming stroke were undeniable. The strategy accurately altered an existing technique to include new and more correct elements. Observations of pre- and post-intervention performance characteristics verified this result. Not only did the skill topography change, but so did performance. At both warm-up and race speeds the distance covered per stroke was improved as was the time for the 25-meter distance. These effects were verified by independent observation as well as the subjective comments of the swimmer and her coach.

The use of continuous contingent reinforcement in the forms of verbal praise and performance information, the consistent prompting of step elements, the significant frequency of correct skill attempts, and the presentation of a progression of learning that facilitated easy learning were part of the "instructional package" in this demonstration. These ingredients should be consistent features of effective coaching. Unfortunately, they are not emphasized enough in coaching manuals, instructional courses, or symposia. The package of reverse progression teaching elements employed in this investigation offers a clearly defined and measurable strategy for coaching efficient sporting techniques. It produced very few errors in the learning experience and obvious behavior changes. The speed with which the technique changes were achieved was very impressive.

8 7


This study focused on and reinforced the importance and practicality of reverse progression teaching as an effective instructional strategy for elite athletes. It was demonstrated as a vehicle for altering established techniques. It is equally effective for producing new techniques but the demonstration of that use will have to remain the province of another investigation.

1. Ashy, M. H., Landin, D. K., & Lee, A. M. (1988). Relationship of practice using correct technique to achievement in a motor skill. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 7, 115-120. 2. Chelladurai, P., & Stothart, C. (1978). Backward chaining: A method of teaching motor skills. CAHPER Journal, 1, 26-29, 36-37. 3. Cox, J. A., & Boren, L. M. (1965). A study of backward chaining. Journal of Educational Psychology, 56, 270-274. 4. Dusault, C. (1986). A backward shaping progression of the volleyball spike approach and jump. Volleyball Technical Journal, 8, 33-41. 5. Koop, S. & Martin, G. 1. (1983). Evaluation of a coaching strategy to reduce swimming stroke errors with beginning age-group swimmers. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16, 447-460. 6. Maglischo, E. W. (1982). Swimming faster. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield. 7. Martin, G . L., Koop, S., Turner, G., & Hanel, F. (1981). Backward chaining versus total task presentation to teach assembly tasks to severely retarded persons. Behavior Research of Severe Developmental Disabilities, 2, 117-137. 8. Rushall, B. S., & Ford, D. (1982). Teaching backwards - an alternative skill instruction progression. CAHPER Journal, 48(5), 16-20. 9. Simek, T. C., & O'Brien, R. M. (1981). Total golf. A behavioral approach to lowering your score and getting more out of your game. New York, NY: Doubleday. 10. Spooner, F., & Spooner, D. (1984). A review of chaining techniques: Implications for further research and practice. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 19, 114-124. 11. Spooner, F., Spooner, D.,& Ulicny, G. (1986). Comparisons of modified backward chaining: Backward chaining with leapaheads and reverse chaining with leapaheads. Education and Treatment of Children, 9, 122-134. 12. Weiss, K. M. (1978). A comparison of forward and backward procedures for the acquisition of response chains in humans. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 29, 255-259. 13. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION - WRESTLING 14. An Example from Wrestling #1 15. Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy. 16. 17. The diagram below illustrates the sequence of instructional progressions for learning a "double-leg / sprawl / head-whip" maneuver. Picture 1 shows the terminal position that should be attained if the skill is executed correctly. In accordance with correct pedagogical principles, each trial must be completed successfully by attaining the desired terminal position.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

References

8 8


19. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION 20. An Example from Wrestling #2 21. Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy. 22. 23. The diagram below illustrates the sequence of instructional progressions for learning a "head-lock / squat / whizzer throw" maneuver. Picture 1 shows the terminal position that should be attained if the skill is executed correctly. In accordance with correct pedagogical principles, each trial must be completed successfully by attaining the desired terminal position. 24. This sequence requires the first step prior to the terminal position to be executed in the air. Consequently, an opponent has to accommodate the attacker so that this step can be performed correctly.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

18.

8 9


26. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION - ROWING 27. An Example from Rowing 28. [Rushall, B. S. (1984). Applied rowing research report III: A sequential approach to teaching rowing technique - backward shaping. Research report, Wintario, Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, Government of Ontario. Reprinted in Coaching Notes CARA, October, 1984. Part I Motor learning and teaching methods. 29. 30. The diagram below illustrates the sequence of instructional progressions for learning to execute a sweep-oar rowing stroke. The sequence breaks with tradition by defining the end of the stroke as the last position attained prior to executing the "catch." Consequently, the progression requires instruction to first focus on what is done out of the water ("the recovery") before any in-water activities are attempted. An added benefit to this sequence is that the beginner first knows how to prepare to do work in the water and how to extract the oar at the finish. That eventually frees the individual to concentrate on the movements that are important for producing propulsive forces. 31. The concept of the end of the stroke being the last preparation prior to affecting a catch, focuses attention on correct preparation, something which is very difficult to instruct in traditional teaching progressions. In accordance with correct pedagogical principles, each trial must be completed successfully by attaining the desired terminal position.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

25.

9 0


‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

32. 33. A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION - GOLF 34. An Example from Golf 35. Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy. and Dennis Ford, M.Sc. 36. 37. The diagram below illustrates the sequence of instructional progressions for learning to swing a 7-iron golf club. Picture 1 shows the address position which is necessary to teach how to grip the club. The second picture is the terminal position to be attained at the end of the follow-through. In accordance with correct pedagogical principles, each trial must be completed successfully by attaining the desired terminal position. 38. This sequence is derived from Rushall and Ford (1982) and is repeated in the abstract in this issue of Coaching Science Abstracts that recounts that article. 39. Reference 40. Rushall, B. S., & Ford, D. (1982). Teaching backwards - an alternative skill instruction progression. CAHPER Journal, 48(5), 16-20.

9 1


A BACKWARD SHAPING PROGRESSION - JAVELIN Throwing a Javelin* Lynne E. Evans United Kingdom (1985)

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

41.

The following are the steps used to instruct a mature individual to throw a javelin. S had no experience with throwing the object although had a considerably rich history of involvement in sports. Four consecutive correct trials at a step needed to be performed to progress to the next step. In this example it was necessary to teach how to hold and grip the implement (Steps A and B) prior to commencing the movement pattern. Step A B C

Content Hold Grip Recovery

9 2


D E F G H I J K L

Release Arm movement Position of feet Backward lean Body rotation Arm extension Arm withdrawal Javelin carry Total throw

Assessment Prior to starting any instruction S was asked to attempt four throws which were measured. The distances recorded were 31.8 m, 32.7 m, 28.5 m, and 33.0 m. The instruction consisted of three sessions. On each day progressions always started with Step A and proceeded as planned. Session 1 consisted of 75 trials through to Step H. Seven errors were recorded. Session 2 consisted of 82 trials through to Step K. Six errors were recorded. Session 3 consisted of 78 trials through to the completion of the full progression (Step L). Six errors were recorded.

Upon completion of the progression and performance of the terminal behavior criterion (four errorless executions of the total throw) four more throws for distance were conducted in a manner similar to pre-instruction testing. The distances recorded were 41.5 m, 42.7 m, 39.8 m, and 43.9 m. Only 8% of trials were deemed errors and the performance improvement was 33.25%. MODEL 3: THE CONTROL OF BEHAVIOR [Extracted from Rushall, B. S., & Siedentop, D. (1972). The development and control of behavior in sport and physical education. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger. (pp. 156-168)]

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

  

A second major responsibility for coaching and teaching is the control of behavior. It is appropriate to use behavior control techniques to mold the repertoires and control the frequency of occurrence of the behaviors which are appropriate to sports and physical education environments. Behaviors which are "desirable" should be consistently emitted and those which are "undesirable" should be eliminated. This form of control is differentiated from Shaping Model 1 in that terminal behavior already exist and control procedures are in effect for many behaviors at the same time. This strategy is appropriate for regulating the emission rate of behaviors. In the group control situation, most performers are expected to exhibit similar behaviors. Individual variations in behavior form only a fraction of the total behaviors displayed. For the teacher or coach to

9 3


perform such tasks as "discipline" or control, the individuals are expected to display a set of characteristic behaviors for that environment. For example, one set may be "rule-following" behaviors, as defined by the teacher or coach. This does not imply that each participant must act in the same manner. It stipulates that the group displays a set of behaviors which are adaptive to the purpose of the activity with some behaviors being common to all persons and others being displayed by individuals or subgroups. The coach and teacher need to make a decision as to which behaviors are to be strengthened, which are to be tolerated but not reinforced, and which are to be suppressed. Operant control procedures can be used to develop the desired control once these behaviors are defined.

There is an abundance of experimental evidence (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis) which shows that operant control procedures work with individuals and very small groups. The majority of these studies relate the control function as being a property of the controlling agent. These studies should be viewed as conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of operant control procedures. On the other hand, there has been little experimental work done with controlling large groups, bringing behavior under the control of naturally occurring environmental consequences, or producing control from within a group rather than from a single person. Validating evidence is rare for these topics although they have been frequently mentioned (Skinner, 1968 and Bijou & Baer, 1961). Good control is manifested through the reliable and predictable occurrence of behaviors. In educational settings, behaviors which occur erratically and unreliably serve as indices of poor teaching. Coaches and physical education teachers are concerned with developing (shaping strategy 1) and maintaining behaviors (shaping strategy 2). As Skinner has suggested, there are many "traditional" educators who object to vigorous approaches to the planning and control of classroom behaviors.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The primary purpose of this strategy is to designate the procedures which are necessary to bring behaviors under the control of consequences and in some instances, discriminative stimuli. The final product from the application of the strategy should be one where most behaviors are controlled, occurring at desired rates and at appropriate times. A secondary aim of this strategy is to produce some behavioral control that is independent of the teacher's or coach's presence.

An effective technology of teaching, derived not from philosophical principles but from a realistic analysis of human behavior, has much to contribute, but as its nature has come to be clearly seen, strong opposition has arisen. (Skinner, 1968, p. 84). A commonly raised objection (Lawther, 1968) centers on the use of lower animals to develop the principles of behavior. The usual argument against sub-human experimentation is that humans are not comparable to animals. Consequently, derived principles are supposedly invalid for humans. However, the principles of operant control have been shown to be independent of species for they work equally as well for humans as they do for animals. Another objection is often raised about the contrived circumstances which are often associated with control procedures. This point is well taken if unnatural circumstances are all that are provided.

9 4


However, contrived consequences often accelerate the effect of control procedures. Teachers and coaches should use them in the initial stages of asserting control. If the control functions are finally transferred to naturally occurring events then desirable outcomes have been attained. The transference of control from contrived to natural circumstances is a feature of this strategy. Another objection to behavior control in education is that it does not teach certain important activities. Such things as tolerating frustration, self-discipline, how to clear up puzzling matters, etc., are outcomes which are usually attributed to traditional control methods. There is, however, a best strategy for developing outcomes of this type. Such behaviors can be taught more efficiently through the use of behavior control procedures than through traditional teaching methods (Skinner, 1968). The trial-and-error procedures of traditional instruction are avoided by planned, programmed behavior control procedures.

One of the first requirements for using the strategy is to have some understanding of the existing conditions under which the target behaviors occur. If some insight is gained into these conditions then environmental circumstances can be altered to affect change. In the final stages of control, adaptive behaviors must be maintained by infrequent reinforcement, that is, they come under the control of a schedule of reinforcement. Consistent, infrequently reinforced behaviors are indicative of good behavior control. A MODEL A set of procedural steps can be developed for the control of the behavioral repertoires of group members. The repertoires and their constituent behaviors must be considered and then the control parameters for each specific behavior must be defined. The model steps are:

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Teaching and coaching are concerned with affecting the topographies and rates of occurrence of behaviors, for example, how consistently a performer can place a backhand drive near the sideline of an opponent's court; how often a team member obeys the rules of the game. No matter how many hypothetical mental structures are proposed as the outcomes of teaching, only observable behaviors can be measured. The scope of teaching physical education and coaching includes bringing behaviors under the control of given variables. Shaping Strategy 2 concerns itself with the rates of emission of defined behaviors.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Decide and list the desirable behaviors for the environment. Decide and list the undesirable behaviors for the environment. Locate the existing circumstances which control the behavior. Decide and list the positive and negative reinforcers which could be used for the initial control procedures. 5. Decide and list the naturally occurring positive and negative reinforcers which should finally control the behaviors. 6. Resolve the control parameters for each behavior.   

The desired rate of occurrence (strength). The method for applying contingent reinforcement. The schedules of reinforcement.

9 5


 

The substitution of naturally occurring reinforcers. The transfer of control to the group.

1. Clearly present the desirable/undesirable classifications to the group or individual. 2. Administer the reinforcing contingencies (follow the resolved parameters [step 6] for each behavior). 3. Appraise the effectiveness of the control function. The main task of controlling behavior repertoires is to consistently reinforce a defined set of behaviors. In the discussion of this model, references will be made principally to group control. The application of the model for individual control is similar and generally simpler.

Desirable and undesirable categories of behavior have been referred to periodically throughout the text. In coaching and teaching there are behaviors which are desirable (adaptive to the situation, e.g., rule-following behaviors) and undesirable (maladaptive to the situation, e.g., disrupting behaviors). The coach and teacher want to strengthen the desirable and weaken or suppress the undesirable behaviors. There also exists a class of behaviors which are relatively neutral to the situation, for example, minor social interactions. These neutral behaviors are usually essential to the social situation but do not actually enhance or detract from performance. For control purposes these behaviors are ignored and are allowed to continue at their baseline rate of occurrence. Desirable and undesirable behaviors need to be defined and recorded. The definition of these behaviors is extremely important when more than one controlling agent exists for the group. In group control situations, such as a coaching staff or physical education faculty, each assistant coach or staff member must control all behaviors in a similar manner if reliable and consistent behavior forms are to be developed. It is a good practice to record the definitions of the behaviors. They should be referred to constantly by all persons concerned with control so that occurrences of all the target behaviors can be recognized. At a later stage, these behaviors and their classification need to be presented to the class or squad. The most practical procedure for formulating the lists is to have one or more observers watch the group in action and to classify the observed behaviors into the desirable, neutral, and undesirable categories.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Desirable and Undesirable Behaviors

Locating Information on Behaviors Bijou and Baer (1961) described the factors which need to be considered when trying to understand the occurrence of a behavior. They were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The function of the response consequences. The promptness with which consequences occur after the response. Any discriminative stimuli which accompany the response and/or reinforcer. The history of the reinforcer (primary or conditioned). The schedule of reinforcement. The number of reinforcements for the response.

9 6


7. The deprivation or satiation of the individual for the reinforcer (if relevant).

Probably the most frequently located feature of an existing behavior is the reinforcers which maintain the behavior. It is quite common to have to eliminate reinforcers for certain behaviors. When undesirable behaviors are maintained by positive reinforcement, such as peer attention or approval, such reinforcers need to be removed. Methods such as reforming groups or removing individuals from the environment are useful in circumstances such as these. For effective control changes, the existing control features need to be known. Determine Reinforcers Two groups of reinforcers need to be established. The first group consists of positive and negative consequences which are strong and suitable for the initial control process. These reinforcers must be readily available for use by the coach or teacher. The second group comprises those positive and negative reinforcers which occur naturally within the environment and are independent of the coach or teacher. These will eventually be used to maintain the behavior. The lists should be varied as they will be used for many reinforcing contingencies on different individuals. It is good practice also to note those reinforcers which are significant for each performer. Some individuals are influenced more by some forms of reinforcement than are others.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

In teaching and coaching, it is not practical to locate all these factors for all behaviors. However, in using this strategy it is necessary to recognize the significant factors which support the behavior and which need to be changed. Only some of the features listed need to be contemplated for each behavior. For example, it may only be necessary to change the reinforcement schedule for the behavior to produce the desired effect. Thus, if one wishes to have a behavior occur more frequently, it is usually only necessary to institute a burst of CRe and then develop intermittent control again once the desired rate has been established, for example, increasing rule-following behaviors and assertive behaviors. In another case it may only be necessary to bring the behavior under the control of a discriminative stimulus. Once a skill is performed at a reasonable level of proficiency the role of discriminative stimuli increases in importance. A quarterback quite often has to discriminate when to throw and when not to throw a pass to avoid an interception. If he throws a lot of interceptions which are costly to the team, then his passing behaviors need to be more finely discriminated. Developing discriminative control may be all that is required. The recognition of the control changes which are necessary is a most important feature of the model. The analysis must reveal the set of conditions that need to be altered so that the parameters for change can be defined.

Resolve the Parameters for Each Behavior Each behavior should be considered in the light of several control parameters. Decisions must be made on these features so that they define the procedures to be followed by all persons responsible for control. It is quite likely that there will be a number of behaviors which only require an alteration in their reinforcement schedules, another group may require a finer discriminative control, and still another may need to have a wider variety of reinforcers

9 7


administered to avoid the problem of satiation. The resolution of factors such as these will dictate the control procedures to be adopted. A decision must be made as to what rate of emission of the behavior is desirable. Some behaviors will need to be completely suppressed, for example, disruptive behaviors or unsafe behaviors. Others will be tolerated if they are emitted at a low rate, for example, unscheduled rests in training. On the other end of the scale, some behaviors need to occur as often as possible, for example, attendance at class or practice. The decision on rates of occurrence will directly affect the schedule of reinforcement administered. It is valuable to take periodic assessments of each behavior to determine their rate of occurrence. This can be used as an index of the control function exerted by the changed reinforcement schedule. As has been indicated above, there will be behaviors which do not require a schedule change although the control process will be applied for other features which affect the behavior.

If applicable, methods of applying contingent reinforcement for each behavior must be determined. This may require some ingenuity on behalf of the controller because many physical activities are performed continuously, for example, swimming laps. Also, in other circumstances the coach or teacher may not be near enough to an individual to present a reinforcer directly. The main problem to overcome is to minimize the time delay between the response and reinforcement. The longer the delay in providing reinforcement, the less will be its effect upon behavior. When other behaviors occur after the specific response, reinforcement is no longer appropriate. The schedule of reinforcement will determine the strength of the behavior. CRe will elevate or suppress a behavior to a desired strength and an intermittent (VR/Vl) schedule will maintain the behavior at that level. Because control is shared across the group, the administration of CRe is a most difficult task. The best procedure available appears to be to emit the number of behaviors in the group which are under CRe at the one time. It is possible to have several behaviors under CRe and more under VR/VI schedules at the same time. To be more realistic, CRe will be a high VR/VI schedule as it is virtually impossible to reinforce every occurrence of a behavior for every individual. The procedure of stretching the ratio or interval is one of reinforcing the behavior less and less once it occurs at the desired rate. A common failure in attempts at control occurs when schedules are changed too abruptly or in some cases discontinued. To overcome this failing, it is a good practice to have "booster sessions" of reinforcement each practice session. The behaviors that are established are reinforced periodically to maintain the stretched schedule. The application of an exact schedule which keeps a behavior at one level is almost impossible to

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The degree of stimulus control required should be determined if it is appropriate. The majority of conduct, social interaction, and task application behaviors will be free-operant behaviors. However, in certain aspects of the teaching and coaching process, particularly where there is highly involved organization, some behaviors cannot be tolerated and need to be discriminated operants, for example, specific rule-following behaviors. Decisions must be made as to what the discriminative stimulus should be for each behavior which needs this control and how the discriminative control is to be implemented.

9 8


achieve in the applied situation. Rather, behaviors seem to vary in their rate of occurrence and "booster sessions" bring them back to their desired strength.

The control function can be transferred to the group. This relieves the coach from some timeconsuming responsibilities enabling him to apply himself to other coaching tasks. The principal concern of this step is to develop the persons in the environment as behavioral engineers. There are several examples in the literature of the use of naive persons as controlling agents (Surrat et al., 1969; Hall et al., 1968). To do this, the person needs to know the specific behaviors (obtained from the definitions), what reinforcers are available, and when to administer them. Each of these steps needs to be planned for each behavior. The initial planning may appear to be overwhehning but as the user becomes more skilled in making these decisions and in using behavior control procedures his efficiency increases and the task size diminishes. Once the initially defined behaviors have come under control, further preparation for the controller is only limited to new behaviors which emerge. The results of this process are more than satisfying to the controller in light of the initial preparation which is required to achieve effective control. The Application of Control Procedures The group or individual should be made aware of the desirable and undesirable behaviors which have been defined. This will act as a discriminative stimulus for the behaviors. Rushall (1972) referred to a procedure of using this strategy with a group of advanced swimmers.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Once a behavior is established and maintained, the control function should then be turned over to naturally occurring consequences. The procedures for doing this have been neglected in the research. Many reinforcers can be administered by members within a group. Social reinforcers are particularly natural to any group activity and all that needs to be done is to define the acceptable reinforcers and when they are to be administered by the group members. By establishing traditions and procedures that are monitored and controlled by the group, behaviors can be reinforced independently of the coach. If a behavior is maintained by intermittent coachadministered reinforcers, then the natural reinforcers need only occur at reasonable times to match the previous schedule when control is finally transferred. Such examples as recognizing performance excellence in various aspects of a game, providing social recognition for outstanding performances, etc., can be used as effective reinforcers. These contingencies are often coach or teacher instigated but are then turned over to the group for administration.

A large notice board displaying a list of desirable behaviors and a list of undesirable behaviors should be set up in the pool. The list itemizes all the behaviors so that they are clearly recognizable when they occur. The coach should then reinforce the good behaviors and punish the bad behaviors while controlling the squad. On the administration of each consequence, the group's attention should be drawn to the list. In a short period of time, the swimmers themselves will start to sanction and reprimand the behaviors which are listed (possibly due to generalized imitation). The coach's task will be greatly reduced by this phenomenon. From time to time, the list will be supplemented as more control is required. For this method to be successful, the coach must provide significant importance to the procedure at the time of its introduction. Since the

9 9


The above description highlights the features of implementing the model. The notice board which listed the behaviors served as a reference and reminder of the specific behaviors which were expected in the pool environment (it acted as a set of discriminative stimuli). The capability of adding new behaviors to both classes is also provided. It is likely that the lists will not be exhaustive in the initial stages. The implementation of this process should be quite marked by attaching a great degree of importance to it so that a suitable impression is made upon the group. Stressing the importance should be carried into the application stages by publicly administering reinforcers when necessary (to utilize the vicarious reinforcement phenomenon). This should be maintained for some time (the larger the group the longer the period) until the group accepts the procedure and is fully aware of all the desirable and undesirable behaviors and their consequences. The next stage is to follow all the resolved parameters for each behavior. The awareness of the coach or teacher to the differing desired rates of occurrence between behaviors is important. As control is being achieved the group can be made aware of the sanctions which can be given to the various behaviors. They should be encouraged to administer these consequences themselves to other group members. By doing this, the group will in time come to control its own behavior with only a small degree of supervision and direction from the teacher or coach. When the teacher is relieved of this control function he can turn more of his attention to actual teaching. This is a very significant feature. One of the main problems with student-teacher relationships is that the teacher is forced to control many behaviors which are not involved with the actual instruction. Such behaviors as attending, drills, discipline, etc., are maintained primarily through aversive controls and negative consequences. If a code of behavior is violated, then the student is usually aversively reinforced. If a code is not violated, the student does not generally receive any reinforcement. In traditional control situations such as these, the student views the teacher as a primarily negative individual. This is not a good relational feature. When the teacher is freed from reliance on aversive control procedures by adopting this strategy for control, he/she is able to develop more meaningful relationships with students.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

group itself takes over the control function, the coach is relieved of this task and he can then apply himself more fully to other purposes.

In all control procedures one needs constantly to appraise their effectiveness. At various times after the inception of this strategy each behavior should be observed to see that it is maintaining the controlled rate. Where rates differ from those originally developed, new control procedures will have to be introduced. Control will continually be part of the coaching or teaching function although it will be less time-consuming once it is established. RESPONSE DIFFERENTIATION This second strategy has indicated that a major method of behavior control is concerned with regulating reinforcement schedules. The rate of occurrence of the behavior is affected. Earlier in Chapter 5 other direct methods of control were explained. These control methods are important for sports and physical education; however, it is often still necessary to control the amplitude of a response. It is more meaningful to have a high jumper clear 7 feet consistently with a straddle technique than it is tojump all heights from 3 feet 6 inches to 7 feet. Time and facilities often

1 0 0


Differential reinforcement consists of reinforcing a limited range of responses from a response class. For example, shot puts over 60 feet are reinforced and those less than 60 feet are not reinforced. In time a 60-feet-plus put becomes differentiated from other throws. With reinforcement, particularly in the form of performance information, the subset of reinforced responses becomes a consistent feature of the individual's behavior. Many activities, like tennis, archery, squash, etc., have evaluative intrinsic feedback as a consequence of many of their operants. Without coaching, these operants undergo automatic differential reinforcement. When an individual hits a tennis ball out of bounds he/she usually tries a modified technique the next time a similar shot is to be made in order to hit the ball in bounds. In operants which provide evaluative intrinsic feedback, it is possible for an individual to achieve a reasonable standard of performance. For example, a beginning golfer produces a wide variety of golf swings from the response class of golf swings. Occasionally a response is differentially reinforced when a good shot is played. After many years of this trial-and-error reinforcement, the uncoached golfer reduces his/her score, produces a restricted set of swings, and incurs a great deal more positive reinforcement than in initial golfing attempts. A coach should be able to capitalize on this intrinsic differential reinforcement and accelerate the development of skill by selectively reinforcing topographical aspects of behaviors. The main point about response differentiation is that it has value in sports and physical education. It delimits the variety of responses which could be made. A consistent level of performance is very desirable for athletic performance and differential reinforcement aids in achieving this consistency.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

restrict the amount of training that is possible. It is essential that a performer and coach participate in meaningful practice under restricted training conditions. It is also highly probable that non-specific training, for example, shot-putting 30 feet, will interfere with more specific training, e.g. shot-putting 60 feet, in highly skilled performers. It would also be desirable to have an athlete perform consistently at a high level of performance. The procedure for getting an athlete to perform near maximum all the time, or at least in a restricted performance range, is called differential reinforcement. Through differential reinforcement response differentiation comes about.

TEACHING AS A CONTROL PROCESS In positively reinforcing environments, the application of individuals to fulfilling their tasks and assignments becomes consistent, the normal problems of motivation, attention and concentration do not arise, and long periods of work are produced without signs of fatigue or nervousness (Skinner, 1965). Under favorable programs of reinforcement, applicative energies are sustained. A student who learns under aversive contingencies gradually restricts responding to behaviors which avoid or escape negative consequences. He/she stops responding when the threatening discriminative stimuli are removed. A too common approach of coaches and physical education teachers is to coerce individuals to react in order to avoid low grades, being dropped from the team, etc. Skills and behaviors produced under these conditions tend not to be continued upon leaving the sport or physical education environment.

1 0 1


For every behavior that is punished, an acceptable behavior should be primed and reinforced. By substituting in this manner, the individual will not avoid the situation and his/her repertoire of adaptive behaviors will be increased. This should be a feature of control in using this strategy. This is the most acceptable use of punishment. When inappropriate behaviors occur they can be punished as long as the alternative behavior is reinforced. The acquisition of the new behavior will be accelerated by this procedure. The quickest way to produce a new response is to develop it under continuous reinforcement while punishing all instances of incompatible behaviors. Perhaps the most serious criticism of instruction and coaching is the relative infrequency of trials and reinforcement. Since the teacher is the main source of reinforcement in the early stages when trials are usually unsuccessful in terms of perfect results, few good approximations, although unsuccessful, are reinforced in this important stage of development. With large classes and squads and autocratic teaching, reinforcement for correct or good responses is far from optimal. Behavior changes are few and small and it is surprising if there is any effect from the teaching procedures at an. Rewards in sports and physical education are generally not given for a specific behavior. They are usually presented for over-all levels of performance and therefore have questionable effects. To structure good instructional contingencies the teacher must be able to offer immediate reinforcement. Prizes, marks, etc., are some available reinforcers. However, it is common practice to withhold the presentation of these until the behavior is long gone and they therefore lose all their effect. Generally, weak conditioned reinforcers are effective only when they are contingent upon responses. The operant strategy for control provides a procedure for instituting clear, consistent reinforcement for defined behaviors. This strategy should be combined with the shaping strategy so that a lesson or training session will proceed with both instruction and behavior control. The development of stimulus control is an important feature to be considered when using the strategies. Errorless learning is an important concept for discrimination training (see Chapter 6). Learning experiences should be made as clear and simple as possible while the programmed steps of the shaping strategy should be well within the capabilities of each performer. This

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

Instances of aversive control in physical education are common. Pupils who are late to class are punished so they will not be late again. The lateness itself is an indication that the students are not motivated to get to class. Teachers have to threaten and yell at pupils to provoke action. The class performs only to avoid reprisals. Classes are threatened with punishment if they do not pay attention or a team member is threatened with being dropped if he/she misbehaves. The ludicrous situation arises in some aversively controlled environments where push-ups, extra-laps, and more exercise are used as punishments for inappropriate behaviors. In the same situation at some other time the group is told to do push-ups, run laps, and to exercise because of the good that they do. Direct inconsistencies such as these serve to decrease the control potential for that environment. These are instances of bad teaching procedure through the form of aversive control. A teacher or coach is able to use aversive control because of social position. However, once the teacher is removed, the discriminative stimulus is removed and responding returns to its baseline level. The main impact of this control approach is that there is no "carry-over" value in the teaching.

1 0 2


approach is very different from the traditional, anxiety-provoking discrimination training where it is usual to reinforce only wrong responses. The coach and teacher are assigned two main tasks, to develop the topographies of behavior and to bring all behaviors appropriate to the respective environments under the control of infrequent, naturally occurring reinforcement. This is best approached through small group and individual instruction and total group control programs. Individuals must be able to perform at their own rates to produce optimal applicative efforts.

Coaches and teachers of physical education can consider the performance of their squads or classes in a new light, the total integrated behavior pattern or role. A strategy for controlling and modifying this pattern has been discussed. The engineering of circumstances which provide contingent reinforcement is a control factor in the teaching and coaching process. It is necessary to concentrate on the programmed implementation of teaching and control strategies. Behavior changes will be more noticeable and verifiable and the teacher's effectiveness raised. Operant principles of behavior indicate clear steps for achieving behavior development and modification in sports and physical education. SUMMARY The second strategy is concerned with controlling the rates of occurrence of behavior which occur in sports and physical education. It is applicable for use with behaviors which are already established in an individual's behavior repertoire.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

The use of this control strategy promotes the concept of "how one should behave." This may be interpreted as the performer's "role." It comprises a behavior repertoire that has been shaped by the environment. It proposes a method for producing such a repertoire. It becomes possible to talk of a swimmer's role or a football player's role, each being defined by the set of desirable and undesirable behaviors developed through the use of this control strategy. Definitions of a role are situationally specific. The problem person in a class or training squad may display inappropriate behaviors, may not display all the desired behaviors, may not respond to all the stimuli present, and may not obtain the typical or maximum forms of reinforcement available. Precise, behavioral analysis will locate the reasons for the deviations and will suggest where corrective control procedures need to be instigated.

The control function of teachers and coaches is seen as maintaining appropriate behaviors, suppressing inappropriate behaviors, and tolerating the remaining behaviors. This strategy designates the procedures which are necessary to bring behaviors under the control of consequences. The model concerned with this strategy allows the teacher or coach to attempt to control many behaviors at the same time. It requires a definition of desirable and undesirable behaviors, the location of the conditions which maintain them prior to instituting control, and the features necessary to achieve the desired control. The main feature of the model is that it stipulates that control must be finally achieved by naturally occurring reinforcers (usually members within a

1 0 3


group). This relieves the teacher of the continuous task of maintaining discipline or control which is characteristic of traditional education methods. Teaching and coaching are analyzed in terms of aversive and positive control processes and a strong point is made to have the control procedures emphasize positive reinforcement. The principal use of punishment is acknowledged as being the suppression of behaviors which are incompatible with a response that is being shaped. The strategy outlines the necessary steps for achieving a new level of behavior control in sports and physical education. The control function of the teacher and coach can be enhanced by using the principles of operant psychology.

1. Bijou, S. W., & Baer, D. M. (1961). Child development, Volume I: A systematic and empirical theory. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts. 2. Hall, R. V., Panyan, M., Rabon, D., & Broden, M. (1968). Instructing beginning teachers in reinforcement procedures which improve classroom control. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 315-322. 3. Lawther, J. (1968). The learning of physical skills. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 4. Rushall, B. S. (1972). Behavior control in swimming. Australian Journal of Sports Medicine, 4(6), 18-24. 5. Skinner, B. F. (1965). The technology of teaching. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B. 162, 427-443. 6. Skinner, B. F. (1968). The technology of teaching. New York, NY: Appleton-CenturyCrofts. 7. Surrat, P. R., Ulrich, R. E., & Hawkins, R. P. (1969). An elementary student as a behavioral engineer. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2, 85-92.

‫ التعلم الحركي‬/‫ موفق المولى‬.‫د‬/‫من مكتبي‬

References

1 0 4


مصادر للباحث العلمي الرياضي3