The art and science of refinement: Modifying, polishing and tweaking learnt skills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Chapter 6 discusses making changes to an athlete’s already learnt, long-practised and well-established skill is a common challenge for most coaches. Despite this, however, most scientific literature focuses on the acquisition of entirely new skills in novices or how, once a skill has been acquired, it can be successfully performed under challenging conditions (e.g., fatigue of psychological stress). Positively, coaches’ awareness of key distinctions between these outcomes and what has been termed ‘skill refinement’ has grown in recent years, as research has begun to explore the process and tools for implementing such a process in greater depth. In this chapter, we provide an up-to-date review of studies addressing the outcome of skill refinement within the literature, provide examples of how to implement skill refinement for different classifications of skill, comment on future research and coaching development and, finally, offer some key take-home messages for coaches. Our perspective is that skill refinement is effectively addressed as a cognitively grounded process, enabled by the interdisciplinary Five-A Model. This model, even though initially designed for closed and self-paced skills, offers a mechanistic basis for other more open and/or continuous skills with subtle modification to the associated tools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPractical Sports Coaching
EditorsChristine Nash
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781003179733
ISBN (Print)9781032017105, 9781032017082
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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