The Learning Process
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The Transfer Principle
of gross and fine motor skills

The Transfer Principle
    The Transfer Principle suggests that learning and performing gross and fine motor skill can positively or negatively effect the learning process of another.  A positive transfer of training from skills used in practice to their use in competition is critical for athletic success. This principle should serve as a guide for selecting off-ice training activities for developing on-ice skills. The concept also helps in designing strategies that have a positive impact in competitive situations.

Benefits to Coaches and Athletes
    Coaches can benefit from knowing how to apply the transfer principle. They can:
  • Select appropriate fitness training activities to build the necessary balance of fitness components necessary for specific sports.

  • Select training drills and activities that, collectively, possess common elements with competitive sport conditions.

  • Distinguish between what features of skills are being strengthened by certain training activities, and which features are not.

  • Train movement concepts and perceptions that apply to more than one skill, event, or sport.

  • Emphasize training activities that best develop the qualities that athletes need to excel.

  • Most closely match training activities with competition.

Match Training Elements to Skills Necessary to Compete
    Tips about the transfer of motor skills are found at Transfer of Training.  Coaching tips must apply the concept of matching training activities with the demands of sports if  maximizing results are to be achieved.
  • Sport analysis. Consider the overall demands of the sport of figure skating. What does it take to be outstanding? Physical, emotional, and mental demands contribute to being successful. Training should emphasize supporting the most important qualities that skaters at all skill levels should develop.
  • Skill analysis. Identify the key skills necessary for success. Perform fitness and agility tests to help focus on the areas where athletes need improvement, and select training activities to develop them.
  • Practice vs. competitive conditions. Always consider the differences between practice activities and competitive conditions. Beyond building the fundamentals, devise training activities and conditions that most closely match the emotional intensity that the skater can expect to encounter in test and competitive situations.
  • Mechanics. Understand the most efficient movements that underlay the mastery of highly skilled motor performances. Correcting movement deviations and inefficient patterns in practice is essential, even for such basic skills as stroking, skating on edges, and especially in performing jumps.
  • Movement qualities. Develop the timing and rhythms of skills can greatly assist the athlete in acquiring the mechanical/motor skills. Training activities that incorporate rhythms into skills and sequences used in competition will speed the development of automatic muscle/nerve memory responses.
  • Identify cause and effects. Coaches sometimes develop training activities to correct symptoms of motor skill errors that they observe when athletes compete. Training should focus on correcting the causes of mental as well as physical errors.
  • Physical capability. Athletes sometimes have limited capabilities of executing skills due to a lack of strength, power, or other fitness deficiencies or abilities. Coaches who can identify those limitations can better create practice activities and exercises designed to correct or mitigate core problems.
Positive or Negatively Affects of Skill Specialization
        Learning or regularly performing a skill can affect, either positively or negatively, the learning of a second skill.

Positive Transfer generally occurs when the two skills are similar in some way. Thus having previously mastered one of the skills, learning the second skill should be much easier. Coaches can be a positive force in insuring that the athlete understands the similarities between the two skills and there by stressing the importance of acquiring the basics of the first skill so that they transfer more easily into the second skill.

Negative Transfer occurs when having acquired one skill, it posses a barrier (obstacle) to learning the second skill. This can happen when a stimulus common to both skills requires a different response. Negative transfer can be avoided if the athlete is made aware of the differences and the practice sessions are tailored similar to simulate situations that only require one response.

Six categories of skill transfer have been identified:

  1. Transfer between skills - such as all racket sports
  2. transferring skills learnt in training to a competitive environment
  3. Abilities linked to skills - balance to perform a good landing in gymnastics
  4. Limb to limb (bilateral) - striking a football with the right or left foot
  5. Principle to skill - the principles of defensive play in rugby are similar to football
  6. Stages of learning - skills that are learnt in the cognitive phase will then be built upon in the associative phase.
Source - Teach PE

Recommended Reading:
  • PDF Socializing the Knowledge Transfer Problem  A central issue in acquiring knowledge is its appropriate transfer beyond the contexts and contents of first acquisition. In contrast to dominant "common elements" transfer theory, an interpretive perspective is developed, according to which "appropriate transfer" is a concept socioculturally rather than objectively defined.
  • PDF Cognitive Skill Acquisition  Review of research conducted in the past ten years on cognitive skill acquisition. It covers the initial stages of acquiring a single principle or rule, the initial stages of acquiring a collection of interacting pieces of knowledge, and the final stages of acquiring a skill, wherein practice causes increases in speed and accuracy.
  • PDF EFF Research Principle: A Contextualized Approach Research on the transfer of learning. teachers starts with real-life contexts and is weaved into all stages of every teaching and learning process. Instruction and assessment are aimed directly at the skills and knowledge adults need to perform tasks they have identified as important and meaningful to them. The focus is on the application rather than on the possession of basic skills and knowledge.
  • Specificity of Training  Volume 1(2): January, 1996. SPECIFICITY OF TRAINING. This edition of Coaching Science Abstracts reviews articles concerned with the Principle of Specificity.
  • Specificity | Fitness and Health Nov. 28, 2006 ... Specificity states that your training should move from general to highly specific training. It also dictates that in order to improve a particular skill.
  • PDF Focusing on Specificity Training  Focusing on Specificity Training Written by NFPT Staff Writer Friday, 03 February 2012 00:00. The personal trainer will encounter athletes of all stripes.

8 Key Sports Training Principles Guide Sound Coaching Sports training principles offer general coaching guidelines for making training ... The Transfer Principle provides guidance on how training activities can speed improvement.

Transfer of Training Principles for Instruction Transfer of Training. Principles for Instructional. Design. Richard E. Clark. Alexander Voogel. Richard E. Clark is Professor of Educational Psychology

Transfer of Learning Nov. 1, 2000 ... Transfer of Training — That almost magical link between classroom and something which is supposed to happen in the real world. It helps the learners to become accustomed to using their newly acquired knowledge and skills in different situations, thus encouraging transfer of learning to the intended target/objective of the training goals. There are two main principles that work with transfer of learning:
  • The variation should not be too easy.
  • The shift or transfer should be progressive but rapid.
Principles of Interval Training | Interval Training Sessions In sports specific training these principles are used to prepare the body for work in specific energy transfer systems relevant to the particular sport.

Developing Personality and Character Traits


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
The System of Learning
Topics of Learning
PDF  Attentional Focus
Transference Principles
Transferable Skill References

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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