Tymon Muska Intro to Motor Learning Dr Rausch Jr. 11 / 14 / 08 The Skill of Juggling In terms of the type of skill, juggling is a continuous skill as opposed to a discrete or serial. Juggling is a continuous skill because it does not have a distinct beginning or end. Continuous skills involve practicing the movement nonstop and uninterrupted, unless a ball or scarf is dropped. The motor control loop partnered with juggling is the closed loop because feedback and the comparator are present.
In terms of breaking down the scheduling for teaching and practicing this skill, one must understand there are several different components to practicing juggling. Similarly, the schedule would be blocked because one must practice a component for juggling and repeat this component until mastered. A blocked practicing schedule also allows the subject being taught to build a feel for the skill, begin to get more confident in performing the skill, and most likely with block scheduling the subject will be more successful in performing the skill, over and over again.
I will be using a combination of part and whole practice. This is because teaching the skill in parts is easier for the learner to understand, but when it comes to showing the learner how to put all the movements together, that is where the whole practice comes into play. Using a combination of both types of practices gives the learner a chance to understand each movement, and at the same time get his or her rhythm down without constantly starting and stopping the motion when trying to put the skill together as a whole. Another portion on the practice side of juggling is called massed practice.
This type of practice, which I will use, is the best type of practice for a beginner. “When applied to the length and distribution of practice sessions, a massed schedule will have fewer practice sessions than a distributed schedule, with each massed practice session requiring more and or longer practice” (Richard (2007). I’ll use this type of practice with my subjects because it allows the subject to get a good feel for the skill and build confidence. With those two things, the subject becomes more successful at the skill they are performing. When one thinks of juggling, they think of juggling with some type of ball.
For a beginner, juggling with a ball can be very difficult. For one, they are heavier so they fall faster. Second, they are solid so they are harder to grab onto. In teaching the subjects I plan to use a simulated practice, “ research investigations of the effectiveness of simulators have been more common for their use as training devices to help people learn how to drive cars, and pilots to fly planes, (Fisher, 2002), than for their use in sports contexts, (Stewart, Do home, & Null Meyer, (2002)”. Scarves are perfect for a beginner to start off with because they are light and float in the air longer than a ball would.
This gives the subject chance to get the right form and technique down. It will also increase their success rate in completing a juggling pattern, which in turn will lead them to build a higher level of confidence when juggling. Then, one must move to the next component involved in the skill of juggling. In other words, when beginning to learn how to juggle, one should begin without any scarves or balls. Mastering the hand movements and repeating the phrases ‘up, up, down, down’ or ‘throw, throw, catch, catch’ are important so that the student may now incorporate the scarves.
The student should practice using one scarf and proceed to using two scarves. Also included in the schedule is the art of a practice. In this case, we would use part practice. In demonstrating the skill, I will first address the class explaining the use of the scarves and the different colors of the scarves and the sequence in which they will be used. I will demonstrate the toss and catch method with one colored scarf. Tossing the scarf up from the dominate hand and catching it with the non-dominant hand and then repeating the skill from non-dominant to dominant. The second step involves having two scarves, one in each hand.
Starting with the dominant hand, the subject will toss with the dominant, toss with the non-dominant, catch with non-dominant and then catch with the dominant. The third step in learning how to juggle would involve the third color. Starting with the two original colors used for step one, in your dominant hand and step two in your non-dominant hand. Add the third color to your dominant hand; this scarf will be tossed last. In order to produce a perfect cycle of juggling the pattern goes like this, toss with the dominant, toss with the non-dominant, catch with the non- dominant, toss with the dominant and catch with the dominant hand.
It is very important for the subject to keep the color and order of the scarves the same throughout each trial. By keeping the same colors in each hand, it will give the subject a base to go by. It will help them remember which scarf to through and grab and when and perform the skill in the correct order. Using the colored scarves is a form of simulated practice. Simulated practice is a great way to teach beginners a skill, but its major weakness is that it is not realistic in terms of juggling with real balls or heavier objects.
For the practice consumption for juggling, we would be using the specificity of practice. The specificity of practice hypothesis has been around since the 1900’s. The theory explains why positive transfer occurs between two skills or skill learning situations, (Thorndike & Woodworth 1901). Part practice consists of three different types and we would be using segmentation. Segmentation is a type of part practice in which one part of the target skill is practiced and mastered followed by the practice of a second part in which the first and second would then be put together until the entire skill is practiced.
It is important to give the subject feedback on how they are doing result wise and not performance wise. The close loop system involves feedback, whereas an open loop system does not. In human movement, the feedback is afferent information sent by various sensory receptors to the control center. The purpose of this feedback is to update the control center about the correctness of the movement while it is in progress (Richard (2007). There are multiple kinds of feedback a subject’s teacher could give to them after watching a number of trials performed.
In this case since my subject is a beginner, I will be using the Summary Feedback schedule which is when the subject has completed his or her trial or practice runs and the teacher gives them intervals of feedback. The specificity of this feedback schedule is called direction, which is strictly used for beginners because it is the easiest to understand and the least overwhelming. After explaining the basic three step method to the class, I will call on subject up and ask he or she to perform the skill and demonstrate for the rest of the class.
For the next step, I will split the class up into groups. Each person in the group will have a chance to perform the skill, while being evaluated by their peers in their group. Each subject will perform the task of juggling the scarves ten times, and I will ask the people in the group to give the subject some kind of feedback whether negative or positive after every two trials. The subject juggling has a definite advantage considering he or she will be getting fifty percent feedback during their trial runs.
In teaching the subjects how to juggle, my ultimate goal is for each subject to be able to complete a full cycle of juggling without a single error. Due to the time constraints in teaching this skill, the main focus will be on the subjects form in performing the skill and how well he or she interprets the information and que’s given to them to complete the task. Reference Page 1)- Magill, Richard (2007). Motor Learning and Control : concepts and applications,8, 86. New York, NY: The McGrawth-Hill Companies. 2)- Magill, Richard (2007). Motor Learning and Control : concepts and applications,8, 395 – 396.
New York, NY: The McGrawth-Hill Companies. 3)- Thorndike, E. L. , & Woodworth, R. S (1901). The influence of improvement in one mental function upon the efficentcy of other functions. Psychology Review, 8, 247 – 261. 4)- Fisher, D. L. , (2002). Use of a fixed based driving simulator to evaluate the effects of experience and PC-based risked awareness training on drivers decisions. Human Factors, 44, 416 5)- Stewart, J, E. , Dohme, J. A. , & Nullmeryer, R. T. (2002). Motor Learning and Control : concepts and applications, 8, 416. New York, NY: The McGrawth-Hill Companies.
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