Skill, Ability, and Technique in Sports
In order to be a success at a particular sport, whether it's playing
football in the back garden or opening the batting for your country
you must have skill, ability and technique. Skill is the ability to
choose and perform the right techniques at the correct time, regularly
and with the minimum of effort in a specific movement in a sport.
Sportsmen use their skills to achieve particular objectives in their
sport e.g. scoring a century in cricket. Ability is the make up of a
sportsman. A number of different aspects of your make up can be taken
into consideration whilst talking about ability e.g. Height, Strength
and co-ordination. We inherit our ability from our parents. Techniques
are the basic movements that we make in any sport e.g. a block start
in a 100m sprint. We can combine a number of different techniques to
create a pattern of movement e.g. the triple jump.
Skill, ability and technique are always closely linked. The book '
Advanced PE ' puts forward the equation:
"Skill = Ability + Technique."
This shows us the close link. The book quotes,
" In order to perform a particular skill in sport, we must learn the
required technique. In order to learn the technique fully, we must
have the necessary abilities."
This quote agrees with the idea that all three areas are needed to be
a success at sporting activities.
Skill has been defined by a number of different experts. Here are two
"An organised co-ordinated activity in relation to an object or
situation, which involves a whole chain of sensory, central and motor
"Excellence of performance-the successful integration of a hierarchy
of abilities (all the abilities we have) appropriate to a given task
under given conditions. (Professor GP Meredith)
Both of the above quotes show the distinct link between skill, ability
and technique. Skill can be broken down into a number of different
types. These are: Cognitive skills, Perceptual skills, Motor skills
and Perceptual motor skills.
In order to perform any skill in sports, you must have the ability to
do so. Your ability is something that you are born with, so to improve
it you need to train. Here are two definitions of ability:
"Discuss the differences between skill, ability and technique and
explain how you would structure practices to enhance these components
of a performance"
"Motor abilities are relatively enduring traits which are generally
stable qualities or factors that help a person carry out a particular
act" (E. Fleishman)
"Motor abilities are innate inherited traits that determine an
individuals co-ordination, balance, ability and speed of reactions"
(R. Arnot and C....