Skill acquisition approaches can be broadly grouped into two camps: those which promote the attainment of an “optimalˮ technique and those which promote self-organization. To date, there have been relatively few training studies that have compared the motor learning effects for these different approaches. The present study compared two training methods designed to encourage self-organization (differential learning, DL, and the constraint-led approach, CLA) with prescriptive instructions (PI) designed to promote the acquisition of an optimal technique. Batters were trained for 6 weeks in a task that involved learning to hit a baseball to the opposite-field (OF) in a virtual environment. In pre and post-tests, batters received points for OF hits and were penalized for hitting the ball to other parts of the field. Relative to a no-training control group, PI training led to a significant change in action selection (fewer swings at pitches on the inside of the plate), but no change in the number of total points. The DL trained group showed the opposite pattern: significantly more points but no change in the number of swings at inside pitches. The CLA trained group significantly improved in both areas and showed greater functional variability in the control of contact point than the other groups. The CLA was more effective than the other methods because it promoted the development of both the coordination of the movement and the perception of the affordance for OF hitting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology