Sport Science

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The human body’s ability to process information and program muscles and limbs to move in particular ways is one important part of how skills are acquired.
For professional athletes, successfully acquiring skills is how they make a living; however, in a competitive market, practising a skill repeatedly to improve is not always enough. Learning skills has become a science in itself. Now, to reach the top of their game, athletes need to understand and consider the nature of skills, the physics of movement and the athletes’ own physical attributes and psychology.
The following chapters delve into the science of learning skills that will assist you to develop and refine physical skills and maximise
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Examples of fine motor skills include:

performing a backhand flick serve in badminton

putting a spin on the ball when bowling

throwing darts.
Examples of gross motor skills include:

running a race

throwing a discus

serving a tennis ball.

Can you think of a skill you have performed that combines the muscular efforts of the whole body?
Figure 1.2
Gross motor skills use large groups of muscles to perform large or whole-body movements.

Chapter 1—Motor learning

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Many movements require a combination of fine and gross motor skills. For example, a softball pitch involves larger gross motor movements of the shoulder, arm, back and legs; it also involves subtle movements of the hand and fingers. The pitching action primarily involves gross motor skills, but the fine motor skills are also important to direct or add spin to the ball.


Can you think of examples of fine and gross motor skills used in the sport you are studying?

Open and closed skills
Factors within a player’s environment, such as opponents, teammates and the weather, can affect a player’s response.
Such factors decrease the predictability of the situation and increase the need for players to make decisions.
Skills performed in a stable and predictable environment are said to be closed skills; skills performed in a changing,
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