Article Text

Comparison of five practice schedules located along the contextual interference continuum on the learning of novel motor skills
  1. J P G Cheong1,
  2. B Lay1,
  3. R Grove1,
  4. N Medic2,
  5. R Razman3
  1. 1School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  2. 2School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3Sports Centre, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Abstract

A majority of contextual interference (CI) studies have focused on block and random practice conditions which are located at the extreme ends of the CI continuum. There is an increasing need to investigate other practice schedules with different combinations of interference within applied settings. This study was designed to investigate the effect of five practice schedules located along the CI continuum on the learning of three basic field hockey skills. Fifty-five pre-university students (males: age=18, SD=0) with no prior experience in field hockey were assigned into low interference (block), moderate (serial, randomised blocks, block random) or high interference (random) treatment groups. Participants practiced the Indian dribble, push pass and hit in six acquisition sessions, with 15 trials of each skill executed in each session. All participants completed a pre-test, two acquisition tests and a retention test 1 week after the final practice session. Indian dribble ball control, speed and accuracy of the push pass and hit were assessed. A significant time effect was found (p<0.05) for Indian dribble ball control as well as push pass and hit speed. Follow-up analysis revealed that the pre-test scores were lower than the acquisition and retention scores indicating that collectively, the five practice conditions led to improvements in both the acquisition and learning of novel motor skills. However, significant differences were not found between the five experimental groups in either the acquisition or retention phase. As the CI effect was not present in this study, it is suggested that low, moderate or high interference practice schedules can be used effectively when learning a novel skill.

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