Learning in artistic gymnastics. An experimental study with children analysing some variables in that process
Today the training of sports skills has lead to the conception of new approaches to attain maximum results. In practice, many teaching methods are used, yet most of the articles on motor learning or sports training refer to the total or global and the partial or analytic methods, both of interest in the field of gymnastics, offering a number of important combinations between either extreme.
Opinions differ concerning effectiveness, and such differences also exist in gymnastics. Carrasco (1977), nevertheless, proposes "mini-circuits" as the ideal teaching method in gymnastics. In looking for a practical solution to global or analytical teaching, one experimental group study was undertaken with children participating in Sports Schools between the ages of 9 and 11. The aim was to compare the effect of three training sessions (analytical training, "mini-circuit" training, mixed training) on the learning and recall of gymnastic skills.
Interested in both final performance as well as the teaching process, the following variables were studied: motor activity time, waiting time, total number of global movements, total number of feedbacks emitted by the teacher (amount and direction), and total number of spot checks. A pre-test, post-test and re- test design was used with three groups to assess the three training sessions. Each group was trained to learn the same variable-dependent outcome.
The results of the study showed that the "mini-circuit" training was the most effective learning and recall method. The most highly-influence process variables were both the type of aids and type of feedback provided. Overall, it is worth highlighting the importance of using the "mini-circuit" method with children. From a pedagogic perspective, this is an important finding to take into consideration, which could yield important results during schooling.
KEY WORDS: Gymnastics, teaching methods, Children training, Feedback, Aids