Boyce, B. A. (1992). The effects of three styles of teaching on university students' motor performance. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 389-401.

Three styles of teaching were evaluated for effectiveness in teaching a rifle shooting task (kneeling shoot) to university students.

  1. Command style is characterized by all decisions, from pre-impact through post-impact, being made by the teacher.
  2. Practice style allows the learner to make some decisions on the conduct of the practice (e.g., shooting order of subjects in the group).
  3. Reciprocal style allowed partners to do all the instructing and monitoring.

All instructional styles led to improvement in the initial stages but then command and practice styles improved much more than the reciprocal style. Also the command and practice styles produced better retention in the shooters.

Implication. If a coach wants to elicit skill improvement and short-term learning in a task that is closed and target-oriented, then the command or practice style might be appropriate. If the skill is an open skill or one that relies on cohesion, then the reciprocal style might be better. Further research is warranted.

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