The role of task constraints in promoting development and transfer of perceptual-motor skill in sport

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Oppici, Luca (2018) The role of task constraints in promoting development and transfer of perceptual-motor skill in sport. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis examined the role that task constraints play in promoting transfer of perceptual skill in sport tasks (futsal and soccer). Transfer of learning is the process of adapting a learned behaviour to a new context. Transfer occurs due to the similarity between a learned behaviour and the behaviour required to achieve the task goal. The similarity of information that guides action between the learning and criterion (transfer) tasks facilitates the transfer process. An individual’s ability to perceive information that specifies opportunities for action (affordances), which underpins skilled performance, has been shown to transfer between similar sport tasks. However, it is unknown how task constraints (e.g., rules, equipment and task goal) influence the development and transfer of perceptual skill between similar tasks. While previous research has been limited to examining acute effects, this thesis showed that practicing a sport skill (i.e., passing) for more than 1000 hours using domain-specific task constraints affected how individuals oriented their attention to perceive affordances. These differences in perceptual behaviour influenced how participants transferred their skill to a new context. Learning the passing skill with shorter time to act and in a smaller space (using futsal constraints) promoted a higher magnitude of transfer to a task with longer time and larger space (soccer constraints) than vice versa. Furthermore, the results indicated that learning the passing skill with a modified equipment (futsal ball) positively transferred to the standard equipment (soccer ball). The modified equipment fast-tracked the participants’ ability to perceive information that specified task-relevant affordances, which, in turn, expedited learning. Overall, this thesis extended current knowledge on the role of task constraints in promoting the development and transfer of perceptual skill. Practitioners are encouraged to manipulate task constraints to facilitate the emergence of functional behaviours that transfer to competition.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords perceptual skill; task constraints; futsal; soccer; skill transfer; passing skill; equipment; perceptual behaviour
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