Skill is a very important concept in sport for both the participant and the coach as well. A Skill is ” An organised co-ordinated activity in relation to an object or situation which involves a whole chain of sensory central and motor mechanisms”(Welford). However a performance in sport which is seen as skillful has to include some of these qualities.
Skill is usually misunderstood and confused with ability and technique but is completely different, ability is what you are born with and how you have grown up to link concise movements. It is learned from an early age, like walking, this is needed to carry out a particular skill fully and also technique is needed to perform the skill.
Skills are important to performers and there are many types of skill, which occur in sport today and In this essay I am going to review them linking the to individual sports and activities.
Different types of Skill
Cognitive skills- these include intellectual skills such as the player being able to think within a game and to be able to work out scores and other various situations where thinking is required.
Perceptual skills- this is basically how participants interpret a situation which arises in sport, as the same information may be given to another but our brain interprets it slightly different depending on our level of experience within situations like it.
Motor Skills- these skills are linked with the muscular movement of the body such as being able to run and walk in sport.
Type of skill
Darts-being able to count score
Football-whether to make a tackle or not
Rugby- running with ball
Perceptual motor skills- these are basically a combination of the three skills above as sport involves is not just one skill.
Skills can be placed on a classification continuum depending on their requirements. Barbara Knapp developed a continuum for open and closed skills where, certain skills in sports, which occur, can be placed on a continuum scale. Open and Closed skills are basically the degree to which the skill can be repeated. If the skill can be repeated every time then it is a closed skill. Open skills are different every time, as they might have to be adapted to the situation in which they occur in such as the numerous environmental factors which can effect how close it is the previous version of the skill. In sports like football this may include the pitch conditions, i.e. if the grass is wet and muddy it will make it awkward when doing skills like tackling, which will never be the same as the a previous tackle.
This is because you will never be placed in the same exact situation where the play is coming toward at the same direction, speed and in the same environmental conditions. These factors plus many more will always make skills like these open skills. Therefore on the scale below which ranges from o which is a 100% closed skill to 10 which is a 100%open skill Tackling in football will be almost right at the end closest towards the open skills.. In the middle of the continuum sports are placed nearer to one end of the continuum depending on how likely they are to reoccur exactly like the previous skill.
These skills can be placed on a scale like below.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Snowboarding : carve turn = 7
Rugby tackle =9-10
Tennis volley = 8
Football shot on goal
Badminton smash = 8
Basketball freeshot = 1-2
Tennis serve = 2-3
Penalty in football = 2-3 (excluding environmental factors)
The sports above are my own interpretations of where they would be placed on knapps scale.
Skills can be classified by the amount of movement, and if it is intense movement, using power and strength or small accurate movements, and also by the size of the muscle groups involved in the skill. These are also classified on a continuum. There are known as motor skills and are subdivided into two categories fine and Gross.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Place on continuum
Golf – putting
Bowls -rolling ball
Shot put-throwing put
This is the degree to which the performer controls the timing. I.e. how long they have to execute a skill and if they control the time length. Examples can be placed on a continuum.
Externally paced skill – includes sports/events where the timing of the performance is controlled by an outside instigator.
Self-paced Skills-these are skills which are controlled by the performer and the decide upon the amount of time they want to use in order to execute skill.
Events like 100 & 200m sprint
Other examples can be placed on different points on the continuum as the degree of execution of the skill is controlled partly by the performer and by the instigator.
Skill in sport/event
Place on continuum
Discuss throw (skill is not executed immediately.)
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
With these skills you can see through analysis that there Is an obvious start and Finnish. Which is of advantage to a performer as the skill can be individually extracted from the game and practiced. This could include a shot in darts for example.
These are skills where there is no obvious starting and finishing point. These skills just flow from one to the next.
Example is swimming as the skill is repeated and it s hard to distinguish when it has finished.
This is a combination of one or more continuos and/or discrete skills. E.g. hurdles where there is a combination of running (continuous) and jumping (discrete).
Sports can be divided up depending on the amount of contact or interaction with opposing players or teammates. These are:
-“Are those performed in isolation”. (Edexcel) These include sports, which are done by the performer on their own without any other interaction with other performers.
-Are skills, which are executed at the same time as others, but without out any physical involvement with the other athletes.
– These are skills where the performers are involved with others in direct confrontation. Skills executed by a performer are under the influence of an another performer. Eg in football taking a shot is a skill in which its successive completion is influenced by the skill of saving the ball from the opposing goalkeeper.
Skill in Sport/event
1.Downhill skiing- Decent down a hill against time
3.Javelin- Throwing it
3.Single man rowing against others
1.football -two opponents jumping to head the ball
3.Basketball-dribbling with ball
These skills which are classified above will be used in different amounts in performance depending on the sport. And performers of different sports will use different skills and training programmes in order to improve their performance. For example a gymnast will train different to a footballer. In a training session a gymnast is more likely to focus on working individually, as the event requires individual talent. Using individual skills will help to increase performance, as it will stop others from trying to imply your style, and will build up confidence for performing by yourself. However a footballer is going to train differently in a training session as he would benefit more from using interactive skills as its more realistic to the actual sporting situation, which he would encounter in a game.
The two sports would also require different training methods. A gymnast would benefit more from an individual training programme where he is helped by the coach with his/her programme, this is because it will gain them more self-confidence, and will be better to help them achieving an individual goal. A footballer being part of a team would most proberly use more command style teaching methods, where a large number of them, could be trained the same skill at once. Also a guided discovery style in order to use perceptual skills to use particular formations to over come problems and to overcome situations like overcoming particular offside traps without being told. This would benefit them more as it would be more like a real game.
By looking at the classifications of skills both sports performers and coaches can benefit, as it can be used as a guidance in training, and also if there is weaknesses in the performance, if these can be improved by training particular types of skills.