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Skill Acquisition

AIS Skill Acquisition provides world-class support to coaches and athletes across a wide range of individual and team sports to help Australian athletes achieve podium success.

Skill acquisition applies the science of skill learning to improve how elite athletes learn, how elite coaches teach, and how training transfers into competition. We appreciate that no two athletes are the same and, therefore, approach each athlete’s development and learning in an individual way.

Through the use of evidence-based guidelines, AIS Skill Acquisition helps coaches design innovative practice environments to help athletes learn and adapt their skills for competition. In addition, skill acquisition develops how coaches communicate with athletes (e.g., instruction, feedback) to improve the learning process. Skill acquisition specialists encourage coaches to create learning environments which facilitate athlete development, empowering individuals to acquire their own understanding of the task and seek individual solutions to sport-specific problems.

The Skill Acquisition team works directly with coaches and athletes, as well as other service providers (e.g., biomechanists, performance analysts, psychologists), to develop individualised solutions to address common problems faced in high performance sport. These include:

  • How to structure the training environment to help an athlete learn a new skill as quickly as possible;
  • How to promote learning of technical changes that will stand up under the pressure of competition;
  • How effective instruction and feedback can be used to promote athlete development;
  • Determining what information athletes use to drive decision-making processes.

Our research is driven by solving applied problems for Australia’s elite coaches, national teams, and individual athletes. We use research to help understand behaviour in applied sport settings and to improve training and learning design for elite and talented athletes. Our current research includes:

  • The role of vision and visual information in athlete performance and decision making;
  • How immersive technology can be used to improve decision making performance;
  • Comparisons of how coaches and scientists apply their sport-specific knowledge to influence athlete performance;
  • The design of team training for performance under pressure;
  • How coaching philosophies and knowledge influence on training design;
  • The role of the ‘coach’s eye’ in talent identification and selection.

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