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Information Feedback

The conscious brain, using a collection of learned movements, controls the action when we choose to move. For the movement to progress successfully, the athlete requires feedback which then allows the athlete to evaluate the movements effectiveness. Davis et al. (2000)[1] identify three loops in this feedback process:

  • Exteroceptive feedback - the outcome of the movement through the athlete's senses, observation of the outcome by the athlete, observations from the coach, observations via video
  • Proprioceptive feedback - from proprioceptors in the muscle and tendons and the balance sensors that provide information on the movement's 'feel'. Athletes can use this feedback to make fine adjustments to the movement
  • Kinaesthetic feedback - information fed directly into the spinal cord from the muscles, tendons and joints to give information that can be responded to without conscious control

Types of Feedback

The type of feedback used will depend on the performer and the skill being learnt. Galligan et al. (2000)[2] identifies feedback can be in the form of:

  • Intrinsic feedback - the athlete's information as a direct result of moving through the kinaesthetic senses - feelings from muscles, joints, and balance.
  • Extrinsic feedback - information not inherent in the movement but improves intrinsic feedback. This is also known as augmented feedback. There are two main categories:
    • Knowledge of performance (KP) - information about the technique, and performance. This can be provided verbally by the coach or visually via video. This enables the athlete to establish a kinaesthetic reference for the correct movement. e.g. an analysis of the sprinter's action
    • Knowledge of results (KR) - information with regards to the result of the athlete's performance, e.g. the sprinter's 100-metre time
  • Positive feedback - Used to inform the athlete about what was correct about the movement. Athletes need to know if an activity is right, as this provides the reference point for future action execution. Positive feedback is essential in motivating athletes
  • Negative feedback - Used to inform the athlete what was incorrect about the movement. Negative feedback must include information on the action(s) required by the athlete to achieve the correct movement
  • Terminal feedback - information provided to the athlete before or after the performance
  • Concurrent feedback - information provided to the athlete during the performance


  1. DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Physical Education and the study of sport. 4th ed. London: Harcourt Publishers. p.321
  2. GALLIGAN, F. et al. (2000) Acquiring Skill In: GALLIGAN, F. et al., Advanced PE for Edexcel. 1st ed. Bath: Bath Press, p. 112

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2002) Information Feedback [WWW] Available from: [Accessed