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Skill Acquisition v Learning Process – Are they connected?

Skill acquisition is the process that players use to learn or acquire skills in Australian Football. A skill is generally defined as an act or task such as kicking, marking, and handballing. When acquiring skills, it is important to remember that practice is the key to success. Just like physical training, skill training is essential and the more a player can place themselves in a position where they can practise a skill, the better they will perform that skill.

Skill acquisition is a gradual developmental process that requires cognitive (thinking) processes to work with our physical abilities in order to perform. For a player to produce peak performance, it is essential that they understand how the level of skill acquisition can affect their performance. This involves an understanding of the learning process, analysis of how well it is performed and identifying how the performance of the skill can be improved.

Learning can occur in three ways:

  • Cognitive learning: this is learning by receiving knowledge and information.
  • Affective Learning: this is learning on a social level.
  • Motor Learning: this is learning by acquiring physical motor skills.


The learner brings a variety of characteristics to the learning environment. These experiences and characteristics influence the capacity of the learner to acquire skills. These factors include prior experience, confidence, genetics, ability, motivation and personality.

Some tips on how to enhance your ability to learn include:

  • As we improve our fitness level, we improve our ability to acquire skills.
  • The fitness component is a major factor in skill development – for example, if you are kicking over a long distance, then leg power is a major factor. If you are kicking a ball quickly, then you will need to harness pace, agility, coordination and balance.
  • Think of the motor skill you are practising and its key fitness components, and aim to enhance these.
  • Motivated players will acquire skills at a faster pace.
  • Your level of aspiration or expectation in terms of goals, will affect your ability to acquire skills.
  • Transfer of learning improves the rate at which skills are learnt and can improve your confidence.
  • Obtain information from others and watch how they perform skills – professionals, team mates, peers, coaches and mentors.
By | 2017-08-07T01:16:27+11:00 August 7th, 2017|Coaching|0 Comments