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Goal Setting in Sports: Increasing the Rate of Dribbling a Basketball
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Many children participate in organized sports, and sports practice settings serve as an occasion both for the development of sports skills and for social skills. Because of this, youth sports coaching practices may be considered a particularly important factor in child development. Research in the area of youth sports coaching has demonstrated a lack of evidence to support many coaching practices. Shortcomings of common coaching practices include large proportions of downtime, lengthy instructional sessions, and ineffective speeches and drill design. Furthermore, precise measurement of behavior rarely occurs in the context of most youth sports coaching, and relatively little is known about relations between environments arranged by coaches during practice and performance in competitive play. More research is needed to identify the most effective and efficient way to teach youth athletes specific skills and how drills/practice for fundamental component skills impact more complex composite sports behaviors in competitive play. The aim of this study is to examine these issues through a) comparison of goal-setting methods (progressive-ratio versus percentile methods) for training a fundamental basketball skill (dribbling) and b) observation of the effects of goal-setting methods for this skill in practice on dribbling performances in situations more similar to those prevailing during competitive play.