Diagnosing Errors
Analyzing Skills
 Practitioners must be able to analyze performance
accurately and determine if an error exists, its
cause, and how to fix it.
 May compare a learner’s technique to that of a highly
skilled individual.
 Need to understand the limitations of observation.
 Should realize that some errors may result from
problems related to motor learning and control and not
from poor technique.
Limitations of Observations
 Certain techniques may be inappropriate due to
individual differences.
 An observed flaw may have various underlying
 Errors are not always the result of poor technique.
Planning an Observation
 Identify the skill’s purpose and key elements
 Determine the viewing perspective
 Decide on the number of observations
 Consider capturing the performance on
Key Elements of Fielding a Ground Ball
Determining the Cause of an Error
and Its Resolution
 Errors due to constraints
 Comprehension errors
 Errors in selection
 Execution errors
 Sensory errors
Errors Due to Constraints
 Developmental error
 Equipment
 Structure of the task or drill
 Changes in the environment
 Fear
Your Perspective
 Have you ever been afraid to try to learn a new
skill? How have you pushed past that fear? Or
are you still afraid of that particular activity?
 How would you help a roommate push past a
fear? Your grandmother? A young child?
Comprehension Errors
 When the learner does not understand the
requirements of the skill or what is expected
 When the learner is trying to correct or refine
Errors in Selection
 Perceptual errors:
 Does not know what cues to look for
 Cannot distinguish between task-relevant and irrelevant
 Focuses attention on the wrong cues
 Decision-making errors:
 Unable to identify and locate critical cues
 Does not know the relationship between a specific cue
and the appropriate response
 Recall errors:
 Forgets movements and strategies
Execution Errors
 Errors in neuromuscular coordination:
 Has not had enough practice time to establish proper
 Lacks necessary abilities or physical prerequisites to
develop a high degree of proficiency
 Speed–accuracy tradeoff:
 May need to slow down or speed up a movement
 Telegraphing:
 Reveals intent to an opponent, thus giving the
opponent the advantage
Sensory Errors
 Visual errors:
 Visual demands of a sport may exceed what is
physically possible
 Shadows
 Improper vantage point or obstruction
 Proprioception errors:
 Proprioceptive deficits—from muscular pain or
Possible Causes of Error Related to
Motor Learning and Control
Should the Error Be Corrected?
 Is the learner capable of making a
 How much time is needed?
 Is the learner motivated?
Type of Correction
Has an Impact on How Much Time Is Needed
 Retry the skill
 Refine the skill
 Rebuild the motor program or
pattern of coordination
Categories of Corrections
Reprinted, with permission, from C.A. Coker, 2005, “Teaching tips for
simplification,” Teaching Elementary Physical Education (16)6: 8-9.
Your Perspective
 You are tossing a baseball in the backyard with
your 7-year-old nephew and you spot an error
with his throw.
 What do you tell him?
 How do you tell him?
 How would this differ if it was your brother who
had the error in throwing technique?

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