Skill Acquisition

“Juggling first dates back to the middle kingdom period of 1994-1781 BC in Egypt as a form of entertainment for the Pharaoh” (Professor Arthur Lewbel) and has now escalated around the world, seeing people all of abilities participate in this activity. Juggling involves the use of fine motor skills as only small muscles of the body are utilized such as the wrist and finger flexors. An advantage of juggling is that it is self-paced therefore individuals of all juggling abilities can be successful through the use of going at a pace suitable to their stage of skill acquisition i.e. cognitive, associative, autonomous.
When learning a new skill the individual must incorporate a range of elements and methods to execute the skill to an optimum level. Some individuals may never exceed the cognitive stage however, our ability to reach each stage is affected by a variety of internal and external factors such as feedback (positive or negative) the complexity of the skill (simple or complex), characteristics of the learner (personality), how practice methods are utilized and the environment the skill is performed in (open or closed).
The cognitive stage is the basic stage of skill learning, it is characterized by a dominance of thoughts, heavy reliance on demonstration of the skill and frequent large errors. When in the cognitive stage I relied on several amounts of external, delayed feedback and demonstrations to help me improve juggling with maximum correct technique. Instead of focusing on the results (quantity) I focused on the technique (quality) and catching the juggling balls was just a bonus. To help me improve I broke the skill into parts by utilizing part method to ensure I could understand each part of the skill and did this at my own pace in a closed environment where I couldn’t be effected by any external factors. To ensure a rapid improvement I utilized distributed practice, which consists of longer practice with shorter rest periods as this...