Skill, Technique & Ability
A question often asked is what is the difference between skill, technique and ability?
What is a skill?
Skill is an athlete's ability to choose and perform the right techniques at the right time, successfully, regularly and with a minimum of effort. Athletes use their skill to achieve athletic objectives e.g. sprinting a 10.0 second 100 metres. Skill is acquired and therefore has to be learned.
Types of skills
Psychologists have categorised human behaviour into three broad domains:
What is a Technique?
Techniques are the basic movements of any sport or event e.g. a block start in a 100 metres race is a technique. We combine a number of techniques into a pattern of movement e.g. triple jump - running and then the hop, step and jump phases.
Ability is the make-up of an athlete that we inherit from our parents. Abilities underpin and contribute to skills. Abilities can be essentially perceptual, essentially motor or a combination of both. Most abilities to do with action are a combination and are referred to as psychomotor abilities. Now there is no definitive list of psychomotor abilities.
Stallings (1982) identified the following psychomotor abilities: Muscular power and endurance, flexibility, balance, co-ordination and differential relaxation (selective adjustment of muscle tension).
Fleishman (1972) identified the following nine psychomotor abilities (referred to as gross motor abilities): Extent flexibility, dynamic flexibility, explosive strength, static strength, dynamic strength, trunk strength, gross body co-ordination, gross body equilibrium and stamina.
If you are of average height, strong, good co-ordination and have an abundance of fast twitch fibres in your legs then you have the natural ability to be a sprinter.
The relationship between skill, ability and technique
SKILL = ABILITY + TECHNIQUE
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