The impact of outcome estimation specificity on motor practice and learning

Sonny Garcia *, Wan Xiang Yao *, Alberto Cordova *, Xing Lu ** and William M. Land *

(*) University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
(**) Beijing Sport University, Beijing, China

AIM OF THE STUDY: To determine whether the specificity required when estimating outcome-performance errors influences performance and learning during training. Participants trained on a ball-tossing task in which vision of the outcome was removed immediately upon ball release. Subsequently, participants provided an estimate of the landing location of the toss. PARTICIPANTS : The participant performed under one of three estimation conditions, specific location estimate, general location estimate, and a control group that did not estimate the location of the toss outcome. Findings revealed that requiring a specific estimation of the landing location negatively influenced toss accuracy during the early stages of training. CONCLUSIONS : This finding may reflect the increased cognitive burden on attentional resources resulting from the more precise specificity required for estimation. Interestingly, this negative impact appeared to dissolve after additional training. This study is the first to highlight a relationship between estimation specificity and motor performance during training.

Keywords: Estimation practice, Knowledge of results, Motor learning, Outcome prediction