Sport skill memory is developed when athletes learn and remember motor skills. Motor memory techniques can accelerate the skill acquisition process so athletes can progress to higher levels of sport performance more quickly.
Motor learning principals are drawn from psychology and applied to sports training. Coaches can use the following sport memory techniques to speed up skill learning and retention for athletes of any age:
1. Help athletes learn skills correctly the first time. Initial learning is most impressionable. A skill learned is incorrectly often difficult to re-pattern. Coaches should monitor and guide athletes to learn proper technique when athletes are still in the early stages of learning.
2. Teach skill rhythms first, then refine the movements. Athletes can learn and recall rhythmic movements more quickly than isolated movements, just as rhymes are more remembered in verbal learning.
3. Chunk movements. Movements can be learned and processed if they are "chunked", or grouped, into larger movements. This grouping technique increases an athlete's capacity to learn and perform sport skills. Break skills down only as much as necessary. Overanalysis causes paralysis.
4.Make new skills meaningful. Explain and demonstrate new skills so that the athlete understands what the skill requires and why it is executed that way. Also make clear how a skill, movement, or strategy will help the athlete improve sport performance.
5. Associate new skills and concepts with well-learned skills. Athletes learn new skills more quickly if key movements make sense to them. A coach can capitalize on an athlete's previous experience and maturity level by suggesting mental images that associate new skill concepts and features with familiar ones.
6. Point out specific cues that require the athlete's attention. Intention to remember alerts an athlete to important aspects of a skill or game situation. An athlete's ability to focus and remember key cues distinguishes beginners from skilled performers.
7. Overlearn skills to correct errors. Overlearning means practicing skills beyond what is necessary to perform them properly. It is effective for correcting previously learned errors and for reinforcing properly coordinated movements.
Sport memory techniques such as these can streamline training, saving valuable time and effort. These are just a few of the many tools used for how effectively convey what skills and strategies athletes need to know.
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