NOTE: This is the latest in a series of Q&A stories featuring Brock University faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games into their research projects. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games
The research of Brock Associate Professor of Kinesiology Jae Patterson is focused on examining ways of training motor skills in people of all ages, from children to older adults. His work touches on topics such as different types of feedback provided by instructors regarding performance success, the benefits of instructors demonstrating skills for learners, and ways of learning more than one motor skill during practice.
Patterson is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2020-21 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, he discusses his research project titled “Developing Athletic Expertise Based on Motor Learning Practice Structures.”
Please give a brief overview of your research project.
A review of the existing literature shows examples of where methods used to train a new motor skill can enhance performance of already skilled high-performance athletes. To date, there has not been a review that summarizes this research or provides recommendations to the coach or athlete. The goal of our research is to provide a synthesis of the research examining the application of skill training ideas to enhance athlete’s motor performance and decision-making skills. Another goal is to provide specific recommendations for training sports skills for the coach and athlete based on ideas from the skill training research.
What do you expect will be the outcome of your research?
Firstly, specific ways to enhance the efficiency of athlete performance regarding decision making and motor performance, will be identified. Secondly, based on our review, specific recommendations for the coach and athlete to enhance athlete performance and decision-making skills will be presented based on ideas from the skill learning research.
How will this contribute to knowledge or understanding of the Canada Summer Games?
The Canada Games have a prominent role in developing Canada’s premier athletes. The objectives of the proposed project are consistent with the strategic goals of the Canada Games Council, to strengthen athlete development and sport in Canada. The expected outcomes of the review will support, strengthen and/or recommend methods used to organize practice contexts for expediting athlete development.
How did you become interested in this research?
My research focuses on identifying and understanding methods of facilitating motor skill learning across the lifespan, and for persons with various abilities. This includes skilled performers. In fact, the methods used to train new motor skills have recently proven to be equally effective in enhancing performance of motor skills for high performance athletes.
How do you plan on sharing your research?
Our research will be presented at the scheduled research showcase at the 2022 Canada Summer Games. We are also planning on publishing our work in an open-access coaching science journal to facilitate dissemination to our target audience.
Do you have any advice or tips on how colleagues in your Faculty can incorporate the Canada Games into their research?
Based on the multidisciplinary expertise of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, numerous possibilities exist to perpetuate understanding of Canada’s sport development system. Such further inquiry would enhance sport development for Canadian athletes, with and without physical and intellectual disabilities.