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Module 1 Motor Programmes Plus Open and Closed Loop Theory

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1 Module 1 Motor Programmes Plus Open and Closed Loop Theory
AS Level – Week 26 Theory Module 1 Motor Programmes Plus Open and Closed Loop Theory

2 Motor Programmes This is the output phase of information processing.
When we develop a new skill, during the cognitive and associative phases of learning, it is transferred into the long-term memory. When a specific action is required, the memory process retrieves the stored programme and transmits the motor commands via the nerve impulses to the relevant muscles, allowing movement to occur. This is known as the ‘executive motor programme’. This programme is recalled when needed, modified after execution and stored for future reference. If the skill is well learnt or autonomous, the recall process (reaction time) is very short, but during the early stages of learning this may take some time or the movement patterns may not be completed correctly.

3 Executive motor programme = a series of subroutines organized into the correct sequence to perform a movement. See diagrams below. Diagrams Motor programmes are based on a hierarchical structure involving movements that are autonomous at the lower levels with more complex subroutines at the peak. As a performer becomes more skilled, the existing executive motor programme is relegated and superseded by a new programme. It becomes autonomous and over-learned. Identification of subroutines may help the coach pinpoint specific weaknesses and incorporate a particular type of practice into the training session. E.g whole-part-whole or progressive part practice. Some skills may not be broken down easily, such as running or dribbling skills, and another form of practice may be more appropriate.

4 Open and Closed Loop Control Theory
Once the executive motor programme has been selected, the movement has to be regulated and adapted. It has been suggested that performers achieve this on three different levels, depending on the extent to which the central nervous system is involved. Level 1 or Open Loop Control This involves the completion of the movement automatically, with no conscious control. These movements are well learnt, stored in the long-term memory and retrieved very quickly when required. They are autonomous and can be completed without the need for feedback and adjustment during the execution of the task. It is also known as ‘memory trace’. Diagram The process usually occurs during the execution of a close skill.

5 Level 2 or Closed Loop Control
This level involves some feedback, which is received via kinaesthetic awareness. Errors are detected and adjustments are made at a subconscious level, with little direct attention from the performer. E.g. side stepping an opponent in a rugby match. Diagram Level 3 This is also closed loop control but involves a conscious decision by the performer based on feedback received. The performer pays attention to specific details and has to concentrate and make a deliberate attempt to alter the movement pattern. Common in the associative phase of learning. E.g. a basketball player may have to think about changing hands when dribbling the ball.

6 Levels 2 and 3 are also known as ‘perceptual trace’, allowing comparison and modification of movements when compared to a stored model. This is developed through practice and feedback, either during or after completion, allowing errors to be detected, corrected and updated for future reference. Most performers will experience both open and closed loop control during their performance depending on their skill level and the task difficulty. However, there are some criticisms of the theory. It assumes that there is a separate memory trace for each movement pattern, which has to be accommodated and recalled from the long-term memory. It also suggests practice should be accurate and variance would hinder learning, which recent research has refuted. Performers sometimes produce movements that are spontaneous and unusual, for which a memory trace could not be stored.

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