Motor Ability (or athleticism, as they say)

 PGA Tour player, Andres Romero, has a lot of motor ability.

PGA Tour player, Andres Romero, has a lot of motor ability.

An individual’s ability to learn and perform a skill can vary greatly.  Not everyone learns at the same rate and certainly there will be inter-variability within skills as some people learn one skill faster than others and a different skill slower than others.  If we use Magill’s (2012) definition of motor ability, it refers to an ability that is specifically related to the performance of a motor skill .  A players’ motor ability will determine how long it takes that learner to reach a certain level of achievement.  A further consideration within this factor is the specificity of motor abilities hypothesis (Henry, 1961), which postulates that individuals have many specific motor abilities that don’t necessarily overlap. So, just because a player is proficient in one area such as dynamic balance, that does not predict his ability with eye hand coordination. 

This is pertinent to the assessment of why a skill doesn’t transfer to the golf course because it can assist us identify weaker links that may need more practice.  It could be possible that a player’s dynamic balance is not challenged on a flat lie on the practice range, therefore the instructor does not see that it needs work.  Using the golf course as a diagnostic tool is critical for a full range of environmental conditions that contribute to the success of a movement. 

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Magill, R. A. (2012). Motor learning and control: concepts and applications.  New York: McGraw-Hill.

Henry, F.M., & Rogers, D.E. (1960). Increased response latency for complicated movements and the “memory drum” theory of neuromotor reaction.  Research Quarterly, 31, 448-458.