Demonstration as a rate enhancer to changes in coordination during early skill acquisition

Robert Horn, A. Mark Williams, Spencer Hayes, Nicola Hodges, Mark Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We compared the nature and rate of change in intra-limb coordination in participants who observed a video model (model) with those who practised based on verbal guidance only (control). Sixteen male novices threw a ball towards a target with maximal velocity using a back-handed, reverse baseball pitch. Participants in the model group immediately changed their intra-limb relative motion to more closely resemble the model's relative motion pattern. This new coordination pattern, and concomitant changes in ball speed, was maintained throughout acquisition, without further change. In contrast, the control group showed no change in coordination or ball speed across acquisition. Our findings suggest that demonstrations act as a rate enhancer, conveying an immediate movement solution that is adopted early in acquisition. A model may constrain the learner to perceive and imitate the model's relative motion pattern as suggested by Scully and Newell (1985). The stability of this new movement pattern questions accounts of learning, which suggest that prescriptive, directed learning may result in the "soft assembly" of an inaccurate and temporary movement solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-614
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2007


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