Skip to main content

Physical factors that impact performance

Watch this to explore physical factors that impact performance for Higher PE (and why toddlers have it covered)

search thinkfour.

You had probably mastered the most physically challenging thing you have ever learnt by the time you were two years old…you learnt to walk.

There are various stages toddlers go through. Lying on the floor and trying to lift their heads, bouncing up and down in a standing position, crawling, pulling themselves up, first steps are taken with the support of furniture or parents hands. Before you know it you are walking .

This in its purest form is you experiencing the three stages of learning. Cognitive-crawling, associative - standing with supported steps and finally autonomous-walking without thinking about it.

Well, this is what happens when we try and develop any new physical skill, from serving in Tennis to kicking the goals in rugby.

Let’s look at how we can use repetition and pressure drills to improve technical consistency of a new physical skill.

On your feet, let’s go.

This is think four.

Consistency is the ability to perform a skill or movement over and over again.

This technical skill of shot consistency can have a positive and negative impact on your performance.

Let’s consider badminton. Developing strong technical consistency with a smash would allow you to reliably either win the point or force your opponent backward in the court giving you control of the rally.

By using a good repertoire of skills this would allow you to move your opponent out of position all the time and you exploit the space the opponent was not in and tire them out.

However, if you were not consistent with your smashes, you would never win the point or force them backwards. Not being able to ever pull your opponent out of position you would not be able to exploit the space at the back of the court or tire them out.

Let’s consider how a Higher PE candidate might make reference to the significance of technical consistency.

In volleyball, I had developed high levels of consistency to dig the ball and it allowed me to absorb pressure during times of offensive attack.
It also allowed me to place the ball high enough in the correct position for my team mate to finish the rally over the net.

This physical movement is difficult in volleyball and even naturally talented players will need to invest time to practice this to develop stable consistency.

So how can we become more consistent with our performances?

When learning skills there are different approaches we can use. Practices that you use depend on the level of performance you have in the activity and the skill in particular that you are performing.

Let’s look at repetition drills. This allows you to practice the skill without the pressure of the game situation. The skill is performed time after time to try to improve your consistency. During this time you are developing muscle memory and the kinesthetic awareness of the desired skill.

We can also use pressure drills. These drills are more challenging and allows the skill to be practiced in more of a game like situation. Time pressure, fatigue, and opponent challenge are often factored into these drills to make then as realistic as possible.

The thing about toddlers is that they are surprisingly persistent – they keep trying and trying until they can walk.

The next time you start to learn a new skill, remember it might be tricky, you might get frustrated, you might not get it right every time, people might even be watching you. However, in the context of PE, with repetition and pressure, consistency in performance development will happen.

Remember there was a day you could not walk, now you do it without thinking about it at all.

So don’t give up on that tennis serve…

This was thinkfour; thanks for watching.