Approaches to developing skills


The performer first performs the whole skill and is observed to see if there are any weaknesses in the whole skill. If a weakness is identified, the performer then develops that one part of the skill. The whole skill should be improved by developing that one particular weakness. The performer would then perform the whole skill again to see if there has been an overall improvement.

For example, a gymnast may perform a somersault off of a trampete. The teacher may spot that they are not tucked in a tight enough position to get a full rotation. The performer could take some time to practice some repetition drills in order to get into an improved tucked position, eg tucked jumps, forward rolls, dive forward rolls. Once they are ready, they could try the whole somersault again.

Gradual build up

Gradual build up involves breaking down a complex skill into smaller, easier stages. Each part/stage of the skill is introduced, practised and mastered before progressing on to the next part/stage. The complexity of each stage can therefore gradually be increased. This means skills can be learned progressively, complex or dangerous skills can be broken down into more manageable progressions. The performer only moves on a stage when they are ready and can move back a stage at anytime.

For example, the lay up in basketball is a complex skill that can be broken down into progressive stages.

  1. Perform standing hop with shot directly under basket
  2. Add two steps before hop
  3. Add standing dribble before two steps
  4. Add walking/jogging dribble
  5. Perform lay up at fast pace
  6. Add in passive defender
  7. Add in active defender

Pressure drills

Pressure drills involve taking a cooperative practice or a repetition drill and increasing the level of difficulty/challenge/competition. This increases the pressure on the performer and makes training more game like. This increases motivation for the performer and allow the performer to play the skill in a game scenario.

For example, a simple repetition passing drill involving four players in a set area could be changed into a pressure drill by adding a limit to the time between receiving and passing, or by limiting the number of touches allowed before passing