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Understanding Skill Acquisition

This is one of nine themes that comprise the Coach Learning Framework.

Understanding Skill Acquisition

Coaching is a people business, an interaction between individuals to help them progress, grow and develop. To maximise your coaching and skills, you need to apply skill acquisition principles

Read our guide to understanding skill acquisition

Nonlinear Development

Understanding the Development of Skilful Performance

Consider how understanding skill acquisition can help you to design sessions that are effective and supportive


Coaching to Support Skill Acquisition

Explore the subject of skill acquisition and how to put theory into practice for everyone from children through to elite athletes with Dr. Will Roberts and Danny Newcombe


Growth, Maturation and Development: Implications for Coaches

Explore a number of key considerations for coaches relating to growth, maturation and development with Professor Kevin Till


Learning to Move Skilfully: Nonlinear Stages of Learning Movement Skills

Consider a detailed summary of the phases of skill development based on Newell’s model of motor learning


Calibrating Perception and Action: Growth, Injury and Ageing

Benefit from a summary of the key elements of calibrating perception and action in skill development


Calibrating Perception and Action: How We Become Skilful at Timing Our Movements

Explore how perception and action are constantly being calibrated with Dr. James Stafford


Learning IN Development with Mark O’Sullivan

Find out more about Mark O'Sullican's work in youth development, why learning isn't linear, and what this means for coaching


Dynamical Systems Theory and Nonlinear Pedagogy

Discover Dr. Graham Turner's workshop on the importance of coach developers creating and sustaining positive relationships


Growth and Maturation in Talent Development

Listen to Professor Kevin Till discuss his research on the effect that uneven growth and development has on young athletes


Athletic Development and Fundamental Movement Skills

Focus on Fundamental Movement Skills

Find out why fundamental movement skills, the basic skills that make up human movement activity, are so important with Marianne Davies


Developing Fundamental Movement Skills in Your Sessions

Learn how to best support children to develop the ability and desire to be active


Learning to Move Skilfully: Intention, Attention and Calibration

Consider the processes of skill acquisition and the learning of movement skills


Boing Kids: Using Fun Games to Coach Movement Skills

Find out more about the Boing Kids project, which provides children's coaches with evidence-based games to improve physical literacy


The Importance of Coaching Fundamental Movement Skills

Guidance on how best to promote the development of movement skills in children and beyond from contemporary evidence and practice


Using Donor Sports to Support Athletic Development

Consider how the Athletic Skills Model can be useful in understanding skill acquisition and talent development


Applying Principles of Skill Acquisition to Athletic Development from Sport to the Gym

Explore how and why you need to think about skill acquisition for strength and conditioning and not just for movement coordination and on the field practice


Applying Principles of Skill Acquisition to Maintain Healthy Movement

Find out more about author Todd Hargrove's experience and understanding of skill acquisition in supporting functional and pain-free movement


Practice Design to Meet the Individual's Needs

Intrinsic Motivation: A Key Ingredient in Skill Acquisition

Consider the powerful and importance influence of intrinsic motivation on the acquisition and development of movement skill with Harjiv Singh


Using Language to Improve Skill Development

Learn how language can be used to support skill acquisition, including through practical examples


Inclusivity Within Your Coaching Practice

Consider the importance and benefits of being adaptable, setting challenges and using contraints within your coaching sessions


Why Do Coaches Shy Away From Using TGfU and CLA in Their Sessions?

Consider the benefits of games-based learning, focusing particularly on Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) and the Constraints-led Approach (CLA)


Skill Acquisition Podcast (EP 1): Craig Morris - Skill acquisition transformed my coaching

Consider how you can develop adaptability in the people you coach


Using Challenge Cards to Put the Athlete at the Centre of Their Learning

Find out why the use of challenge cards can be effective in establishing a person-centred approach


Applying Skill Acquisition to Coaching Parasport

Consider how skill development principles can benefit all participants and the importance of individualised journeys


How to Start Asking Good Questions

Explore evidence-based guidance on how to plan, implement and review your questioning skills


Introduction to Think Aloud

Find out about Think Aloud, a tool that can help participants, coaches and coach developers to understand and reflect


Modifying, Interacting and Adapting the Environment

Learning to Move Skilfully: Periodisation of Skills Training

Consider how to identify what phase of skill development a participant is in and how to use this to design practice sessions


Understanding Representative Learning Design

Learn about the basic principles of Representative Learning Design (RLD) and how you can start applying them, developed with Cal Jones


Knowing When Learning Has Happened

Consider how to design coaching sessions to help participants and athletes retain learning


Skill Acquisition with Ed Coughlan and Stuart Lancaster

Hear about why improving technique and game undersanding is essential in all coaching environments


‘Embracing Messiness’ with Burnley Goalkeeping Coach Fabian Otte

Find out about utilising a constraints-led approach in coaching goalkeeping


Exploring Coaching Strategies to Support and Develop Player Decision-making: A Case Study

Read this case study from the Applied Coaching Research Journal: April 2020


Understanding How Athletes Learn: Integrating Skill Training Concepts, Theory and Practice from an Ecological Perspective

Read this article from the Research Journal: April 2021


Using a Constraints-led Approach to Skill Acquisition with Professor Ian Renshaw

Find out more about the development of the constraints-led approach to designing practice, including through real-world examples


Coach Learning Framework

The Coach Learning Framework has been created to help you design memorable and engaging great coaching experiences that meet the needs of all your participants, regardless of your sport or physical activity.

Understanding Skill Acquisition is one of nine themes that comprise this insight-based framework.

Continue your journey through the framework to learn more about the other eight themes and the key attributes of high-quality coaching environments, and how you can demonstrate the skills, qualities and behaviours that will empower the people you coach to achieve their personal goals.