Individual Differences and Motor Abilities
- What can you change about an individual’s performance?
- How do you select individuals to be on an elite team?
o How do you identify talent? Does talent exist?
- Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Jim Thorpe compete in multiple sports at an
- Understand the concept of individual differences
- Explain how a practitioner might use the concept of motor abilities to classify
skills and perform task analyzes
o Ethical concerns (ex. Gym in Montreal will assess child’s potential
based on body shape of parents)
- Discuss the difficulties inherent in predicting a person’s future performance
success based on assessments of that person’s abilities.
o Most important! Are we assessing abilities or skills?
o Aside from a few physical characteristics, practice can do a lot!
- Correlation Methods (scatter plot and correlation)
- General motor ability
- Identify tasks used during “selection trials” trials that successfully predict
o Ex. Vo2 Max (Endurance); sport specific tasks such as shooting at a
target; replicate game situation (add noise/distraction); reaction time
test (100m sprinters); jump height (basketball, volleyball, gymnastics,
etc.); flexibility/ROM tests (dance, gymnastics).
- A scatter gram showing the relationship between and age running speed. The
second graph shows age and running time.
- There seems to be a very strong relationship between running time/average
speed and age. HOWEVER, be careful when making extrapolations (= predict
the future). This graph only looks at ages 1-18. We can predict that there will
be a plateau after age 18 of running time and average speed.
- Goal of scattergram is to predict future performance!
- Want to have relationship coefficients when you assess performance.
o Ex. Y axis: Jump height; X axis: speed. If the correlation coefficient is
high, you can use height to predict speed and vice versa. (Correlation coefficient of 0.50 is strong, but only explains 25% of variance
(square the correlation coefficient to get percentage of variance)
o “Hypothetical construct that underlies or supports performance in a
It is hypothetical! We can’t completely prove that abilities exist.
o “Relatively stable characteristic or trait”
o “Not easily modifiable by practice”
- ABILITY VERSUS A SKILL.
Of the selection tasks you have identifi