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Sport Psychology 2: Skill Acquisition

Module titleSport Psychology 2: Skill Acquisition
Module codeESS2808
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Mark Wilson (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

You will be introduced to a field of psychology that can be applied to a range of health and performance domains; namely motor skill acquisition. You will cover the key psychological theories and models relating to skill acquisition and develop an understanding of how theoretical knowledge is used to guide applied practice.

Skill acquisition is the study of our ability to acquire and develop movement skills. This module will provide you with a contemporary theoretical framework for understanding how performers progress from novice performers early in learning with low levels of skill, to expert performers who have mastered their skills. These principles of skill acquisition also underpin the acquisition of everyday life movement skills and are therefore also applicable to diverse areas such as rehabilitation and ergonomics. In this module you will consider how this theory and experimental work can be utilised in terms of applied sports skill acquisition and therapy.

Module aims - intentions of the module

In order to apply psychological knowledge to sport and health science you will need a sound understanding of psychological theories and the ability to critically evaluate relevant empirical evidence.

In this module you will be introduced to cutting edge topics in skill acquisition (important for nearly all sports and successful daily living). You will also examine various theoretical accounts and methods that have been proposed to make skill learning more effective and resilient. Example and applications from current research in the department across a wide spectrum of domains (stroke patients, children with coordination difficulties, athletes, etc.) will be discussed.

Graduate attributes. As part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • Team work in the formative homework tasks.
  • Strategic thinking and problem solving in the formative homework tasks.
  • Application of knowledge in interpreting findings in formative tasks and exam.
  • Building confidence as a communicator in presenting in class.
  • People skills in communicating with peers and module teaching team.
  • Enquiring mind in pursuing further reading on topics covered in the module.
  • Data management skills in collecting and recording data and analysing findings during homework tasks.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe key models related to skill acquisition
  • 2. Illustrate the role that perception and attention play in the learning and performance of sporting skills
  • 3. Describe considerations that should be taken into account when providing feedback and instructions to learners
  • 4. Compare developmental pathways to sporting excellence

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Organise and present academic evidence
  • 6. Interpret, synthesise and evaluate relevant empirical findings with respect to competing theories and models
  • 7. Apply theory to practice

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles and theories fluently in a manner appropriate to the intended audience

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will consist of two 2-hour sessions per week. In principal, the first session will be a lecture to introduce key topics and the second session will provide the opportunity for follow up activities and for you to present independent learning activities. However, I hope to provide opportunities for student engagement in each session and the specific split may be more fluid depending on the topic at hand.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Seminars (11 x 2 hours)
Guided Independent Study44Preparation for weekly tutorials, reading and ELE tasks
Guided Independent Study12Preparation for formative assessments
Guided Independent Study50Preparation for exams


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentations 5 minutes1-5, 7-9Oral
Multiple choice test30 minutes1-3, 6, 8Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Multiple choice and essay examination1002 hour 15 minutesAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Multiple choice and essay examinationMultiple choice and essay examinationAllAugust/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Williams, A.M. and Hodges, N.J. (2012). Skill acquisition in sport: Research, theory and practice (2nd ed). London: Routledge.
  • Baker, J. and Farrow, D. (2015). Routledge handbook of sport expertise. London, Routledge.
  • Selected reading in key journals and text books (e.g., Psychology of Sport and Exercise, J of Sport and Exercise Psychology, etc.).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Sport psychology, visuomotor control, skill acquisition, expertise, motor learning

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

ESS1605 Foundations of Exercise and Sport Psychology

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date