Classification of skills

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I am going to find out about the different individual, coactive and interactive skills. I will use the internet and books to find the majority of information.

Skill is a very important concept in sport for both the participant and the coach as well. A Skill is “An organised co-ordinated activity in relation to an object or situation which involves a whole chain of sensory central and motor mechanisms” (Welford in Galligan (2000) stated on page 102). However a performance in sport which is seen as skilful has to include some of these qualities.




-An intention


Skill is usually misunderstood and confused with ability and technique but is completely different, ability is what you are born with and how you have grown up to link concise movements. It is learned from an early age, like walking. This is backed up with “Galligan 2000” where it states that “Abilities are generally seen as innate… you are born with them or they are developed early in life. Without the basic building blocks, we will never be able to develop skill fully” (Galligan 2000 on page 103)

Without technique a skill can’t be performed because it will be impossible. To perform a certain skill in sport you need to know the required technique. Ability is needed first, and then technique and finally the skill can be done.

So therefore “Skill = Ability + Technique” (according to Galligan 2000 stated on page 103)

Different types of Skill

Cognitive skills- These are often known as intellectual skills and involve thought processes. E.g. the measuring of the length of a long jump. (Mosby 2000)

Perceptual skills- This is basically how participants interpret a situation which arises in sport, as the same information may be given to another but our brain interprets it slightly different depending on our level of experience within situations like it. In this picture you may be able to see two faces facing each other or an old fashioned ‘goblet’, depending on your interpretation. (Mosby 2000)

Motor Skills- These skills are linked with the muscular movement of the body such as being able to run and walk in sport. In athletics motor skills are used to run. (Mosby 2000)

Perceptual motor skills- these are basically a combination of the three skills above as sport involves are not just one skill. It is the process involved in a performance.


Classification continuums – are used to classify different skills in certain activities. This can be used to discover out how much a certain skill needs to be taught or learned so that learning and development of skills is optimised. The continuum is an unbroken chain from one to ten between two similar skills (e.g. open/closed).

Open-Closed continuum – it is Barbra Knapp’s theory of classification. She proposes that “Skill can fit on a continuum between open and closed.” (Galligan 2000 on page 104)

Open Skill – is performed in an unpredictable environment, has external requirements and needs the performer to be conscious of what is around them.

Closed Skill – is performed in a predictable environment, has no external requirements and doesn’t need the performer to be aware of surroundings. It is the exact opposite of an open skill. (Full attention on skill).

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