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Old 11-08-2005, 05:47 PM
ryancostill ryancostill is offline
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Default Re: the art of coaching: feedback, modelling and skill failure.

Firstly we will discuss feedback:

It is important to establish a number of definitions:

Intrinsic feedback -information received by the athlete as a direct result of producing a movement through the kinaesthetic senses - feelings from muscles, joints and balance. For example, if an athlete is performing a snatch as misses the lift, he may realise he has missed this lift because he has “felt” that he pulled the bar away from his body, or did not drop underneath the bar fast enough.
Extrinsic feedback - information not inherent in the movement itself but which improves intrinsic feedback. This is also known as AUGMENTED FEEDBACK . There are two main categories:

1. Knowledge of performance (KP) - information about the technique and performance. This can be provided verbally from the coach or visually via video. This enables athletes to establish a kinaesthetic reference for the correct movement. e.g. if we video taped a sprinters running action and watched it back with his coach highlighting technical issues.

2. Knowledge of results (KR) - information with regards the result of the athlete's performance. e.g. the sprinter's 100 metre time.

(adapted from

So how much feedback should we provide to the novices??

This is from: from, Specificity Part VI: The effect of Practice Distribution & Contextual Interference on Performance & Learning

The guidance hypothesis posits that a high relative frequency of augmented feedback during practice is detrimental to motor learning (Winstein, 1994). This is consistent with studies on the effect of feedback on retention (Sawyer, 2005). To elaborate, there are two types of feedback: intrinsic feedback and augmented feedback (Schmidt and Lee, 1999). Intrinsic feedback is inherent to the execution of movement and provided through various sensory channels. Augmented feedback is supplemental to intrinsic feedback. In this context, Knowledge of Results (KR), supplies augmented feedback about movement outcome. For instance, if a coach tells a basketball player who made a free throw shot, “You made it!”, this would be a form of KR. Evidence suggests that too much feedback appears to degrade learning. For instance, several studies show that reduced relative frequency (the percent of KR trials given) produces more learning (Lee, White, & Carnahan, 1990; Sparrow & Summers, 1992; Vander Linden, Cauraugh, & Greene, 1993.). Salmoni, Schmidt, and Walker (1984) propose that when KR is given on every trial, participants become reliant on the feedback and fail to process the information required to learn the task.

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Guadagnoli and Kohl (2001), had participants perform a force replication task in which they were given 100 % knowledge of results. Knowledge of Results refers to a practice variable in which participants are told the outcome of a movement upon its completion. There were two 100 % conditions. The first were given 100 % KR for each trial, while the second condition was first asked to estimate their error and then given 100 % KR. It was found that the 100 % KR condition with a hypothesized difference had greater performance in retention than the other 100 % KR condition. The theoretical rationale is the guidance hypothesis, which suggests that 100 % KR causes participants to become reliant on KR to make adjustments in their errors, instead of the underlying cognitive processes, therefore negating learning effects.

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Participants with less KR, however, must attempt to detect their own errors, increase cognitive effort, and go through the full learning process .

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In my opinion the same would hold true for knowledge of performance (KP). If we videotaped every lift an athlete performs in a clean and jerk session and had them watch each lift immediately upon completion pointing out flaws and suggesting improvements the lifters would become dependent on the feedback and fail to process the information required to learn the task. So we need to allow the learners more scope to identify their own mistakes and adjust their technique accordingly. This will create a more “active” learning environment and facilitate a more optimal learning experience.

Think of your own experience. In school (or college), in which environment have you learned more: a lecture where somebody is speaking to you and telling you lots of things but you are just sitting there listening, not asking questions, not answering questions just listening. Or a more hands on class where you can ask questions, experiment with equipment, try and solve problems yourself. The more active environment invariable creates a better learning environment.

So while augmented feedback through knowledge of performance (KP) and knowledge of results (KR) can be a useful tool for the beginner we should not create a learning environment where the learner becomes dependent on this feedback. After all what would then happen if you took away the feedback? During competition in many sports it is often impossible for the coach to provide constant feedback to the athlete, if the athlete has become wholly dependent on the augmented feedback, his/her performance may completely deteriorate without it.

Active learning, where the learner is forced to analyse his/her own technique, will facilitate more successful learning.
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