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Effects of expertise and implement on performance of a discrete motor skill Open Access


Other title
discrete skill
movement variability
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hladky, Kateline J
Supervisor and department
Maraj, Brian (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Chapman, Craig (Physical Education and Recreation)
Collins, Dave (Physical Education and Recreation)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Science
Degree level
Introduction: Expertise in motor skill develops through continued practice. Repetition of a task can lead to overall performance improving as well as an increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of a movement. Golf putting is an example of one such task that needs to be practiced in order to become an expert golfer. Both the force and direction of ball travel need to be controlled to produce successful performance and these can be affected by varying distance and putter type, as well as expertise levels. The counterbalanced putter is a new to market design which adds concentrated weight to the upper shaft of the putter to mimic the stability of the anchored putting stroke which is now banned by the PGA. It is not currently known how the weight characteristics of the new-to-market counterbalanced putter will affect kinematics or overall putting performance and variability of movement in comparison to a conventionally weighted putter. Few kinematic differences between experts and novices have been identified and variability has not been compared. Various changes in kinematics and performance have been identified with increasing distance but the variability has not been examined comprehensively. Hypothesis: The ability to control the direction of the ball should improve with the counterbalanced putter compared to the conventional putter and performance should improve. It was predicted experts would show better performance and increased consistency with all variables related to force and direction control. It was also hypothesized the average and variability of force control variables would change with increasing distance and performance would decline. Methodology: 10 novices (5 female, 27.2± 7 years old, 0-7 years experience, 0-2 rounds/year) and 10 experts (10 males, 38.9±18.1 years old, 10-35 years experience, 6-100 rounds/year, self-reported golf handicap 9.7 ± 3.9) randomly putted 15 times each with a conventional and counterbalanced putter to target distances of 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 ft, for a total of 150 trials. Kinematic data was measured with Visualeyez (Burnaby, BC). Means and standard deviations were calculated for phase timing and amplitude, contact velocity, stroke length ratio, relative phase timing, face angle, putter head rotation, and impact point. Performance was calculated with binary and constant and variable error in lateral and horizontal planes. A 2-group by 2-putter by 5 distance MANOVA with repeated measures on putter and distance was used for analysis (alpha = 0.05). Results: The counterbalanced putter produced better average backswing timing, face angle, impact point, and contact velocity while decreasing face angle, putter head rotation and contact velocity variability. Increasing distance showed changes in all phase timings and amplitudes, stroke length ratio, contact velocity, face angle, and impact point. The key difference identified between experts and novices was decreased variability in face angle, putter head rotation, and impact point in the expert group. Binary performance measures experts were always better than novices, regardless of putter but did show a slight decline in performance with the counterbalanced putter. Overall, constant and variable error increased with increasing distance and it was found stroke length does change with increasing distance. Trajectory analysis showed consistency increased with the counterbalanced putter for both groups for movement over the Y-axis. Relative timing was not changed by the use of a different putter and did not change with increasing distance. Discussion: The schema theory of learning is present within the task of golf putting as changing force and distance parameters did not affect the relative timing of the phases of putt, regardless of the expertise level of the golfer. Relative timing of phases appears to be individual and not an indicator of expertise level. The counterbalanced putter improves the consistency of movement in comparison to the conventional and this has been attributed to the counterbalanced putters weight characteristics. Experts need more practice with the counterbalanced putter but anyone who would like to increase their consistency in face angle, putter head rotation, and impact point, would benefit from the use of the counterbalanced putter. Both experts and novices needs to practice keeping the amplitude of the follow through twice the amplitude of the fore swing, at all distances in order to ensure enough force is applied to the ball at ball contact.
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