The Differences Between Skill, Ability and Technique in Fitness
In the sporting world, the question, “what is the difference between
skill, ability and technique?” is often asked. This essay investigates
what defines these three terms and also how they can be improved over
time by practice using sporting examples. Therefore this essay will
· A definition of skill, ability and technique and how they are
· Defining different types of skill.
· The relationship between the three.
· Which is the best way to improve them?
· What effects learning.
· How individuals at each stage should be taught.
· A conclusion rounding up the points made.
“The behaviour which tends to eliminate the discrepancy between
intention and performance.” (Oldfield, 1996). This is one of many ways
of viewing what skill is. Skill is acquired and must be learned and
can be continually developed over time.
Ability, on the other hand, is a genetically determined characteristic
often inherited from parents or developed through maturation and
experience. Examples of these characteristics include good
coordination, balance and speed of reactions.
Thirdly, technique can be defined as the basic movements of any sport
or event required to perform successfully for example, a tennis serve.
In order to fully understand the differences between these three areas
of sporting performance they will be considered in more detail.
The characteristic of a skilled performance is: “The learned ability
to bring about pre determined results with maximum certainty and often
with the minimum outlay of time energy or both.”(Knapp, 1977). Thus a
skilled performer can achieve his/her goals consistently. The
acquisition of a skill can be classified in three different stages:
Cognitive, Associative and Autonomous. Fitts and Posner, who came up
with the idea that everybody develops at a different rate, put this
theory forward. Cognitive is the first stage of learning. It is when
the skill has just been learned and you must use your intellectual
understanding to carry the task out. Associative skills are when
movements begin to be more controlled without thinking about the
process as much. It is at this time that the performer senses and
interprets the right way of carrying out the skill. Autonomous skills
are those in which movement become automatic. Sporting skills have a
wide diversity of classifications: Open/Closed, Gross/Fine,
Discrete/Continuous, Self-paced/ Externally-paced. Each of these
elements can be thought of as a continuum (Barbara Knapp), meaning
that there are two ends and there is a gradual change from one end to
another. As an example, open skills are those in which the action is
constantly being varied according to what is happening around the
performer (football pass...