When we are first learning a new task we attend to details
of the motion, & use many forms of feedback. We tend to move slowly in a
discontinuous fashion. As we practice, we gain insight into the
requirements for the task, make fewer errors, move faster and more efficiently. The
transition to a continuous movement pattern marks an initial stage of motor learning and skill
acquisition. We may alter our posture as well as movement path to optimize
performance. The trained eye of a coach/expert teacher may hasten gains and bring performance
to a higher level. Mental as well as physical practice are critical ingredients, and
perfecting practice schedules is always a challenge. The novice often tends to 'guide'
the object or body part to the target center. As learning ensues the person begins to 'launch'
the ‘missile’ with a faster motion and learns the biomechanical 'rules' of the task. If any
talent for the task resides in the learner, performance improves. Feed-forward neural
control becomes more important than feedback as skill improves and the task becomes
overlearned. Although muscles obey the rules of the length/tension & force/velocity
curves, increasing either the isotonic amplitude or the isometric load of a movement is
associated with an increased velocity for many volitional contractions. Actual torque generated
declines with increasing speed, as measured on an isokinetic device, so velocity, load,
momentum & accuracy of limb displacement must be linked biomechanically.