The effects of different forms of pre-practice instruction on learning and their application in a coacing environment
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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As match play and levels of performance have increased over the years, the need for new skills to be learnt, developed and improved is growing. For many years, different forms of pre-practice instruction have been used as a source of teaching and coaching despite the lack of evidence to support its use in enhancing the learning environment. This study examines the effects that different forms of pre-practice instruction have upon the learning of a hockey penalty stroke. Students from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) (n = 28) between the ages of 18 – 21 (Mean age = 19.04 years, standard deviation (SD) = 0.74 years) participated in the study. Each subject had little or no prior knowledge of the skill in question. They were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups each with a different testing condition; visual (demonstrations), auditory (verbal instructions), combination (demonstrations and verbal instructions) and a control group (no instructions given. The findings of the study show that during retention tests, demonstrations were the most successful in increasing learning (p < 0.05). A combination of demonstrations and verbal instructions also showed significant increases in performance, with the verbal instructions group showing marked improvement though not significant to the 0.05 level. The control group showed no significant increases in performance during testing. None of the four groups showed a significant increase in performance during the transfer test. Teachers and coaches who have knowledge of the uses of the different forms of pre-practice instruction will be able to inform their practice, to benefit themselves and create a more engaging learning environment for their athletes and pupils respectively. There were many strengths and limitations to the study which have been identified, with alternative solutions to overcome limitations. These can also be used as future directions of study with a means to further the research conducted within this discipline.
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