14 –Technique Change

Making adjustments to a heavily practiced, well established skill can be one of the most difficult tasks required of an experienced athlete. Although there can be several situations in sport for which this is required (e.g., rule or/and equipment changes, advancement to a higher level of play), there are a dearth of empirical studies that have examined the processes underlying successful technique change. In this episode, I explore what is involved in: opening an athlete’s performance black box to get the new technique in place and then hiding the key so that it is resistant to the effects of pressure.
Research Confessions: Why aren’t practitioners reading our papers?
Download link

Key points

  • How an experienced athlete changes their technique (for example due to a rule change, moving to a higher level of play, a new coach, or new equipment is a relatively understudied topic.
  • It is usually a very difficult thing to achieve because it involves breaking into a highly encapsulated and automatic skill
  • How an athlete adjust their technique in response to task changes (e.g. a switch to a heavier) bat will depend on their individual action capabilities
  • Even relatively small changes in conditions can dramatically alter the way in which an expert athlete performs a skill
  • The processes involved in technique change have been described in the 5A model by Carson and Collins, the A’s stand for Analysis, Awareness, Adjustment, re-Automation and Assurance
  • A major component of technique change will likely be a shift to internal, skill-focused attention so that the skill can be broken apart. Research has suggested that skill-focused secondary tasks can help facilitate this process.
  • A difficult problem that needs further research is how to prevent action slips under pressure, that is, the athlete reverting back to the old technique

Switching tools: perceptual-motor recalibration to weight changes
Two methods for recommending bat weights
On the fragility of skilled performance: what governs choking under pressure?
Refining and regaining skills in fixation/diversification stage performers: the Five-A Model
A case study of technical change and rehabilitation: Intervention design and interdisciplinary team interaction
Sources, topics and use of knowledge by coaches
To What Extent do the Findings of Laboratory-Based Spatial Attention Research Apply to the Real-World Setting of Driving?

More information:
My Research Gate Page (pdfs of my articles)
My ASU Web page
Podcast Facebook page (videos, pics, etc)
Twitter: @Shakeywaits
Email: robgray@asu.edu

The Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action
June & Jean Millington – One for Change
Lame Drivers – Change Your Mind
Junk Boys – No Change
Benji Cossa –Time for a Change
Farmertan – Ugly Truth
via freemusicarchive.org and jamendo.com