"At some point, talent alone will not be enough! So what will give you the Athletic Advantage?"
Human movement is built upon Motor Skills such as crawling, walking, and running. These fundamental motor skills are typically imprecise and unrefined during early childhood, but constant repetition leads to improved efficiency and the development of new movement patterns.
Basics of Motor Skills...
Motor Skills refer to the body's ability to control movement, which requires coordination between the brain, muscles, and nervous system. The proficiency of your motor functions determines how well you can execute a specific task. Basic motor skills, such as walking, jumping, and grasping, are classified as gross motor skills, which can be refined with practice and age. Fine motor skills, such as pointing, zipping a jacket, or performing sports-specific movements, require more precise dexterity. Learning a new physical skill is called motor learning, which involves the brain creating a neural pattern or schema to achieve the desired skill. Repeated practice strengthens this neural connection, improving efficiency and making the skill easier to perform.
Essentially, each new skill builds upon previously acquired skills to meet current challenges.
👉 Are basic skills humans use in daily life (walking, jumping, grabbing, etc.)
👉 Follow a certain hierarchy - some skills are learned before others
👉 Are built on previous skills
👉 Improve in accuracy & efficiency with practice
👉 Pave the way for sport-specific skills
Gross Motor Skills...
Gross Motor Skills involve movements that engage large muscle groups and the entire body, and form the foundation for all physical activities. These skills are typically energetic and broad in nature. Development of gross motor skills occurs in a sequential manner, progressing from head control to trunk control, and finally standing or walking. In general, gross motor skills can be categorized into three subgroups: locomotor skills, manipulative skills, and stability/balance skills.
🔹 Walking 🔹 Marching
🔹 Running 🔹 Sliding
🔹 Jumping 🔹 Climbing
🔹 Skipping 🔹 Leaping
🔹 Throwing 🔹 Striking
🔹 Catching 🔹 Bouncing
🔹 Kicking 🔹 Rolling
🔹 Standing 🔹 Balancing
🔹 Turning 🔹 Swinging
🔹 Stretching 🔹 Stopping
🔹 Bending 🔹 Dodging
The relative simplicity of gross motor skills makes them easier to acquire. They are typically the first motor skills learned & help establish a foundation for the development of fine motor skills. Despite being simpler than fine motor skills, gross motor skills require coordination between muscles & the nervous system, contributing to balance, body awareness, coordination, strength, & reaction time.
Fine Motor Skills...
Fine Motor Skills, also known as dexterity, involve precise and delicate movements necessary for complex tasks.
Often, these skills require coordination between the hands, fingers, and eyes, known as hand-eye coordination. Fine motor skills are built upon gross motor skills, and rely on the ability to perform small movements with great accuracy. Examples of fine motor skills include writing, picking up small objects, and tying shoelaces. Unlike gross motor skills, which tend to remain unchanged even after prolonged disuse, fine motor skills require regular use to maintain precision and efficiency.
It is important to note that both gross and fine motor skills are crucial for developing advanced sports skills.
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The more technical way to describe it:
Motor skill development refers to the improvement in performance resulting from continuous practice, which is characterized by increased accuracy & efficiency in simple & complex physical tasks. As humans continually adapt & respond to environmental challenges, motor learning is a relatively permanent skill. Fitts and Posner’s three-stage model of motor learning is a well-known theory regarding motor skill development, consisting of the Cognitive Phase, the Associative Phase, & the Autonomous Phase.
The Cognitive Phase, also called the understanding phase, requires mental processing to determine the best strategy to perform a new task. In this trial-and-error phase, learners receive new information & form an idea of what needs to be done. Although the success rate is low, and repetitions are inconsistent, with continued repetition, learners can quickly learn new skills. The cognitive phase also relies on external feedback for optimal results.
The Associative Phase, also known as the practice phase, involves refining skills & making small adjustments to performance for consistency. It lasts a relatively long time & allows for increased fluency & consistency, making more challenging tasks easier to perform. Open Skills become easier to perform during this phase, & the skill becomes stored in long-term memory.
The Autonomous Phase, or motor phase, is the final stage of motor skill development, characterized by near-automatic movements that require little mental effort. This phase allows learners to fully focus on tactics and surroundings. Learners are also able to combine different skills & have a lasting impact on their learning of a particular motor skill. Autonomous motor skills are stored in long-term memory, allowing for maintenance of a good level of performance, even with prolonged periods of inactivity, but consistent practice is necessary for ultimate performance.