Especial Skills: Their Emergence With Massive Amounts of Practice. Academic Article uri icon

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  • Differing viewpoints concerning the specificity and generality of motor skill representations in memory were compared by contrasting versions of a skill having either extensive or minimal specific practice. In Experiments 1 and 2, skilled basketball players more accurately performed set shots at the foul line than would be predicted on the basis of the performance at the nearby locations, suggesting considerable specificity at this distance. This effect was replicated even when the lines on the court were obscured (in Experiment 2). However, the effect was absent when jump shots were executed in Experiment 3. The authors argue that massive levels of practice at 1 particular member of a class of actions produce specific effects that allow this skill to stand out from the other members of the class, giving it the status of an especial skill. Various theoretical views are proposed to account for the development of these skills.


  • Keetch, Katherine M
  • Schmidt, Richard A
  • Lee, Timothy
  • Young, Douglas E

publication date

  • October 2005