Contextual interference effect on acquisition and retention of pistol-shooting skills.

The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152-3480, USA.
Perceptual and Motor Skills (Impact Factor: 0.49). 09/2006; 103(1):241-52. DOI: 10.2466/PMS.103.5.241-252
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The effects of contextual interference on learning pistol-shooting skills in a natural training environment were examined. The shooting skills consisted of three "stages" with different requirements for the skill variations commonly used in the field. 12 participants were randomly assigned into one of two practice conditions, blocked vs serial. Following a 20-min. safety and skill instructional session, Blocked group practiced 10 trials in a row at each stage, while Serial group performed 5 trials in a row for each of the three stages and then repeated the cycle. Both groups completed a total of 30 practice trials over the three stages. A 10-min. rest interval was provided prior to a retention test which included 9 trials (3 trials at each stage in a blocked format). Results based on the data of Stage III, the most complex skill among the three stages, showed a pattern consistent with previous findings that practicing in the serial schedule depressed performance during initial training but maintained the performance better at retention, relative to the blocked practice.

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    ABSTRACT: To overcome the weakness of the contextual interference (CI) effect within applied settings, Brady, 2008 recommended that the amount of interference be manipulated. This study investigated the effect of five practice schedules on the learning of three field hockey skills. Fifty-five pre-university students performed a total of 90 trials for each skill under blocked, mixed or random practice orders. Results showed a significant time effect with all five practice conditions leading to improvements in acquisition and learning of the skills. No significant differences were found between the groups. The findings of the present study did not support the CI effect and suggest that either blocked, mixed, or random practice schedules can be used effectively when structuring practice for beginners. Key pointsThe contextual interference effect did not surface when using sport skills.There appears to be no difference between blocked and random practice schedules in the learning of field hockey skills.Low (blocked), moderate (mixed) or high (random) interference practice schedules can be used effectively when conducting a multiple skill practice session for beginners.
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