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Pedagogical issues related to enhancing skill learning

A planned lesson from the Tennis Hot Shots (THS) (...) program was presented for years 3 &4. The
pacific aim of this lesson was to introduce and develop the volley stoke. In planning of the lesson I
analysed some key pedagogical issues from a constraints-led approach in which was related to
enhancing skill learning.
The constraints-led approach is an effective method for teaching the movement performance
because it considers the limitations that could arise. Davids (2008) has broken these constraints into
three areas; organismic, task and environmental. Once these constraints have been determined it is
then important to develop a plan of how and what can be done to limit these constraints.
A major environmental constraint was raised was the issue of the weather. It was raining on the date
in which the lesson planned, therefore, the lesson was then organised for inside. This meant there
was less competition with other factors such as sunlight, wind and interruptions from rain. However,
this also modified task constraints as the indoor space was limited.
Numerous organismic constraints were also raised in the planning of this lesson. Although, the
majority of students were novices, there were many mixed abilities. For example, the volley stoke
entails the ability to have quick reaction times. The volley stroke best fits into the open-loop theory
(Cited in Davids, 2008) in which is responsible for quick response movements. It can be difficult for
novices to make correct decision making time when feedback and information processing is limited.
However, adopting Launders (2001) play practice theory, the game environment was manipulated in
such a way to structure and provide opportunities for enhancing decision-making.
The first strategy was to get student used of the idea of being close to the net. Focusing specifically
on the organismic constraints, student can often be fearful to come close to the net because they
are given less processing time to receive the ball.
The task of the volley stroke was modified in such a way that it slowed down information processing
time, by first having the student in the correct position and eliminating the racquets to be replaced
with catching. Therefore, if students are already set at the correct position and replacing the skill
with catching in which they should already be familiar with, it achieved the intended outcome of
getting students to become more comfortable being close to the net. The next plan was to develop
their skills further by including the racquet.
This idea of first removing the racquet was repeated to the next activity. However, this time the aim
was to gain students confidence to move to the net position to challenge their decision making. This
encouraged students to become more comfortable, therefore they may feel more inclined to play
this shot when faced in a game scenario. According to Light (2012) the speed and efficiency of
decision-making that this sense of the game allows suggests an adaptation to a dynamic
environment in which there is little, if any, separation between perception, decision-making and
action, between mind and body, or between the player and the game environment.
To ensure motivation and enjoyment was high, I decided it would be better if students were given
options to alter the activity to progress to the next stage of developing the skill.
It is recommended from the Tennis hot shots (...) to use an indirect teaching style because it
encourages teachers to guide more and direct less, allowing the students to make more decisions
about their learning.
Non-linear pedagogy was first practiced by giving direct instructions and demonstration in a
constructivist approach, in which according to Brandon (2010) learning should be an active process
in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current or past knowledge. Key
question were asked to the group of students such as when would you use a volley? and Are
volleys generally hit on the full or after a bounce?. Also students were given simple tips and
demonstrations for example when you are playing at the net ensure you are on your toes ready to
move and step across with your opposite foot to your dominant hand when hitting a volley, to
assist you with moving forward to meet the ball in which were repeated and reinforce throughout
their practice to ensure students were aware of their learning.
Light (2008) explains for learners, constructivism suggests that teachers need to adopt approaches
other than direct instruction. A teacher cannot directly tell a learner what they feel. Instead, coaches
and teachers need to provide particular experiences through which the learner learns by doing. The
program also gave students opportunity to explore the movement pattern for themselves.
The class was of mixed ability levels, this means that organismic constraints varied among students.
The plan was to give students that had more developed skills to help learners in your lesson who
have reached a performance plateau, the option to use a traditional tennis ball that had more
compression, therefore, has more bounce and could generate more force students are had more
developed skills. However, this was decided against as space was restricted and for novice players
when force is increased the ball can be difficult to control.
Tennis Hot Shots (....) recommended that it is apparent that students learn best when the
equipment is scaled and appropriate to their age, size and skill level. The lesson was designed for
novices, therefore, I modified the equipment and the playing space used. Small 21 or 23 inch tennis
racquets are also used because this evidently will make it easier for a beginning player to be able to
make contact with the ball. The ball used had low compression, therefore, low coefficient restitution
in which makes the ball have less force, therefore, less ball speed and would slow down sensory
processing, to enable learners to focus on the technique of the skill.
Overall, the teacher is there to facilitate the learning environment because they cannot directly tell
students what to do, there needs to a variety of considerations, where students can learn the skill
through movement and constraints are modified to facilitate learning. This was applied throughout
the lesson, to help students of mixed abilities to develop the volleyball stroke.
Brandon, A F. (2010). Constructivism theory analysis and application to curricula.(active learning).
Nursing education perspectives, 31(2), 89.
Davids. K., Button. C., Bennett. C. (2008). Dynamics of Skill Acquisition: A constraint-led approach.
Human Kinetics: United States of America
Launder, A. (2001). Play Practice: Chapter 2, the emergence of play practice. Human Kinetics: United
States of America
Light, R. L., Harvey, A., Mouchet, A. (2012). Improving at-action decision-making in team sports
through a holistic coaching approach. Sport, education and society, 1-18.
Light, R., Wallian, N. (2008) A Constructivist-Informed Approach to Teaching Swimming. Quest, 60
(3), pp.387-404.
Tennis Hot Shots (2013). MLC Tennis Hot Shots in schools. Australian Sports Commission [online].
Available; hotshots.tenniscomau