PHYSICAL FATIGUE HINDERS SKILL LEARNING
Carron, A. V., & Ferchuk, A. D. (1971). The effect of fatigue on learning and performance of a gross motor task. Journal of Motor Behavior, 3, 62-68.
This study examined the effects of induced physical fatigue upon the performance and learning of a gross motor task, stabilometer performance. College males (N = 40) were assigned to either of two groups. Ss were given 32 practice trials over three practice sessions. Rest (48 hours) was interpolated between sessions. Trials 1 and 2 were performed under conditions of no fatigue for both groups. The experimental group was then required to perform under conditions of physical fatigue during trials 3-26. Trials 27-32 (session 3) were similar to trials 1 and 2. The condition of fatigue was achieved by having Ss pedal a bicycle ergometer until a heart rate of 180 bpm was attained prior to each trial. The control group cancelled vowels.
Results indicated that physical fatigue was detrimental to both the performance and learning of the experimental group.
Implication. Teaching and practicing new skills is best done in non-fatigued conditions. Usually, that means scheduling skill development as the first activities in a training session. If athletes attend practice already fatigued from some other activity (e.g., land/weight training), skill development is likely to be hindered. It is best to program all skill learning/practice for times when athletes are not physically fatigued.
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