Friday, September 28, 2012

Video Feedback and Expert Modeling Can Promote Skill Development

Feedback is a critical element of skill acquisition.  When we think of feedback we usually think of a coach giving an athlete information about her performance or perhaps the athlete receiving information directly from her own eyes, such as seeing the ball hit the floor after an attack.  Whether extrinsic or intrinsic, feedback provides athletes with information that can guide future performances.  Feedback can help athletes link cause and effect (e.g., hitting the right side of the ball causes it to move left) and provide motivation to continue training as well.  Without effective feedback, practice loses much of its purpose.

An increasingly popular form of feedback is video replay.  Video replay gives athletes a unique perspective on their performance unavailable through other means - the ability to see themselves in action (and at different speeds).  According to research, video replay combined with expert video modeling can promote skill acquisition and retention.  This research may support the use by coaches of video replay systems (such is TiVO) in the practice gym to assist athletes' skill development. 

In a study conducted at the University of South Florida a researcher examined the effects of combining expert video modeling and video feedback on the development of athletic skills used in gymnastics routines. "Video feedback" involves showing a recorded video clip of an athlete performing a particular skill (or part of it) to that athlete while "video modeling" shows the athlete a video of an expert performing the skill.

Participants were four 7-10 year old competitive gymnasts.  Each gymnast performed a specific skill and then viewed a video of an expert gymnast performing the same skill. The gymnast then viewed a replay of her own performance followed by a slow motion with freeze frame comparison of her performance with that of the expert model.  Lastly, the gymnast viewed the expert video clip again, followed by her own performance of the skill.

The results showed that the gymnasts’ skills increased following exposure to video feedback and modeling when combined with normal practice sessions.  It was also noted that "improvements were largely maintained during follow-up assessments," indicating successful skill retention as well.

Link to Study:

Title: Expert video modeling with video feedback to enhance gymnastics skills.

1 comment:

  1. I found a Tivo setup on (camera, TiVo box, cabling) by searching for "TiVo replay". It was pretty easy to set up, and my daughter's gymnastics team loves this - it really does help their skills.