Transfer Of Learning From A Overarm Throw Physical Education Essay

The objective of this assignment is to do a study on the transfer of learning from overarm throw to a badminton forehand clear the subject Peter.

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Transfer of learning

The transfer of learning refers to influence of previous practice or performance of a skill or skills on the learning of a new skill (Magill, 2004).

Generally, the transfer of learning comes in 3 different ways, they are

Skill developed in one situation, is used in another game.

E.g. in the various racket sports like tennis and badminton. Besides, good players are often being seen to transfer the skills they have learnt in one situation, into another.

Transfer of learning from the practice session to the competitive game.

The demands of the practice session should relate closely to the demands of the competition itself. A baseball player should be able to pitch effectively in a game and not just in a practice session.

Transfer of learning from the theory like tactics, theoretical concepts to practice session.

In addition, the transfer of learning also comes in 3 different influences, they are:

Positive transfer

Skills that are developed in a situation can be beneficial to ones in another situation, e.g. the development of a skill in one racket sport like badminton has a positive effect when playing another like tennis. However, it seems that only the larger, grosser movements are the skills that prove to make a positive transfer.

Negative transfer

Negative transfer refers to a situation where the skills may be similar between the sports, but in reality the techniques are very different, e.g. pressure on the badminton racket and grip are different from the tennis racket.

Neutral transfer

This refers to a situation when the previous experience has no influence on the learning of a new skill.

The problem

Seefeldt (1979), Gallahue and Ozmun (2004), and Magill (2004) emphasized the importance of acquiring fundamental skills before attempting to learn related sport specific skills, e.g. one should have a basic overarm throwing pattern before untaking the learning of badminton forehand clear. Overarm throwing is one of the important fundamental movements in many games and sports; it has 6 critical features as shown below: (D Knudson and C. Morrison 1996)

Critical features


Torso rotation, leg drive and opposition

Turn your side to the target; step with the opposite foot

Sequential coordination

Uncoil the body

Strong throwing position

Align arm with shoulders

Inward rotation of arm

Roll the arm and wrist at release


Relax your upper body

Angle if release

Throw up an incline; throw over the cutoff’s head

Subjects doing an overarm throw may have 2 separate goals: one may want to throw for maximum distance, while the other may want to throw for accuracy.

In this assignment, the subject Peter is a Primary 3 student studying in a neighborhood school. He takes part in the normal physical education (PE) lesson twice a week, each consists of 45 minutes. For the last 1 month, his PE teacher has been teaching him the fundamental of overarm throw (Appendix 1) with a rubber ball. Today, Peter is able to do an overarm throw comfortably; he has displayed several strong critical features of overarm throwing. He has good opposition and keeps his arm aligned with his shoulders. After 1 month of his June school holiday, his PE teacher begins to introduce him a new sport known as Badminton during his PE lesson.

Badminton is a racquet sport played by either 2 opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by hitting a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their opponents’ half of the court. The shuttlecock is a feathered projectile whose unique aerodynamic properties cause it to fly differently from the balls used in most racquet sports; in particular, the feathers create much higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly than a ball (Wikipedia, 2010).

But after a few weeks of practices, Peter is still not able to fit into the desirable range of correctness for several critical features especially in the forehand clearing of shuttlecock (Appendix 1).

The new sport

Badminton has been an Olympic sport with five events: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, in which each pair is a man and a woman. At high levels of play, the sport demands excellent fitness: players require aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision. It is also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet skills (Wikipedia, 2010).

There are total 8 main badminton skills that any badminton players need to know, they are (Chua Yap, 2006):

Badminton Grip

There are 2 basic grips for holding a badminton racquet, the forehand and backhand grip. Players holding the racket wrongly will decrease his stroke’s power and accuracy. Players need to change grip quickly during games so that he can return the shuttlecock properly to his opponent.

Badminton Footwork

Good badminton footwork is having the ability to reach the shuttle early while on balance. Players can skip, shuffle, bounce, glide, chasse step or lunge on court.

Badminton Serve

Serving is the starting of a game point. Basically there are four types of serves: they are High serve, Low Serve, Forehand, Backhand. A good serve, will enable to players to score point during games.

Badminton Clear

Badminton clear is the most common and important of all badminton strokes that can be played forehand or underarm. These shots can be played both on the forehand and backhand sides. Using clears to move the opponent to the backcourt. It will create space in the frontcourt for player to exploit. The forehand clear is similar to the action of overarm throw (Appendix 1).

Badminton Drop Shot

Badminton drop shots are delicate badminton shots that can win points outright if executed well. The shots can be played both on the forehand and backhand sides. The forehand shot is similar to the action of overarm throw (Appendix 1).

Badminton Smash

Badminton Smashes are the most deadly shot of all badminton shots. There is almost no defense against a good smash. The smash is a shot hit with power and speed downward to the opponent’s court. There are 3 type of smash, forehand smash, backhand smash and around the head smash. The forehand and head smash are similar to the action of overarm throw (Appendix 1).

Badminton Drive Shot

Badminton Drive shots are shots that crosses the net flatly in a horizontal trajectory. The drive is an attacking shot that is usually played from the sides of the court when the shuttle has fallen too low for it to be returned with a smash.

Badminton Net Play

There are 3 different types net play, they are net shot, net kill and net lift Net shots are played from around the net area back to the opponent’s net area. Net kill is a shot played when the opponent has played a loose shot over the net, providing an opening to strike the shuttle down from the net area. Net Lift is actually an underarm clear played from around the net area. Use this shot when player want to move the opponent to the back court.

Broer and Houtz (1967) found electromyographical similarities between the fundamental overarm throw and the badminton forehand clear which implies that there is a relationship between the 2 skills. In addition, in the game of badminton there are 2 more types of shots or movements that are also closely related to the action of an overarm throw, namely the forehand drop shot and forehand smash.

But in this assignment, the subject will only be observed and intervene for doing a forehand clear.

A four phase observational strategy for the qualitative analysis of the badminton forehand clear (Knudson, Morrison, 1996) will proposed for the subject. In the initial analysis trials, first look for timing, rhythm, signs of tension, and the trajectory of the badminton forehand clear, this is done by the help of using video recording and playbacks on the movement. Second, for the next few trials, observe the leg drive, opposition, steps, hip and trunk rotation. Third, observe the clearing position of the arm. Last, observe the evidence of sequential coordination in the fast actions of the arm by looking for lag in the truck, humerus and forearm.

After analyzing the sequences qualitatively (comparing the findings with the critical features) as shown below, prescription of an intervention will be given the subject to improve the performances of his forehand clearing.

Badminton forehand clear

Critical features



Hammer grip; looses and relaxed


Turn the body and stand sideways to the net with the non-racket shoulder facing the net.

Shift the weight on to the rear foot.

Bend the elbow and lock the wrist preparing to swing forward.

Continuous upward motion

Raise the non-racket hand and point at the shuttle to improve timing and balance.

Contact the shuttle as high as possible and in front of the body using a strong throwing action as if the are going to throw the racket high and forward through the air.

Straighten the elbow as the hit the shuttle.

Let the wrist unlock with a whip action as the hit the shuttle


Release the wrist.

Follow through with the racket and shift the weight from the rear foot to the front foot.


Align the heels; fast and throw.

Move back to the base position.

The intervention

Once an observation has been conducted and the strengths and weakness of the subject’s badminton forehand clear movement has been evaluated and diagnosed, an intervention will be deployed.

Specifically, a good intervention would combine the following:

Using feedback with these elements:

Positive, like using words “Great job!”

Limited, like using chunking demo, steps by steps with few elements

Be specific, like using words “Step” to remind players to stride

Be immediate

Using cue words like cross, grapevine, man on for soccer

Using variety of approaches:

Using visual models, like demonstrations by instructors

Using overcompensation

Using task modification, break task into parts, make it easier. Scheihauf (1983) demonstrated a way to modify breaststroke swimming practice to give athletes more time to process the coach’s feedback

Manual guidance like physically moves or holds subject’s body in a specific position

Conditioning like gym training for the subject who is lack of critical ability like strength

Attentional cueing

Ecological intervention

As observed during the analysis, the major limitation for Peter, the subject were

Poor timing and sequential coordination of the forehand clear: elbow and hand well forward of the shoulder at release

Opposition and weak leg drive

Weak forehand clearing position

Angle of trajectory for the forehand clearing is off

An abbreviated follow-through

Prioritization of corrections must also be observed, it is usually depends on the subject’s goals and rational for diagnosis. In general, the most important critical features are corrected first. In the case of Peter the correction of opposition and weak leg drive is the most important, because once they are corrected, the sequential coordination will naturally be corrected through practice.

As mentioned, the best intervention for Peter is to work on opposition and leg dive before sequential coordination of the forehand clear. A good sequential coordination will not develop without strong leg drive and opposition to transfer energy to the arm and then to the shuttlecock from the legs and trunk. In addition, fine tuning of sequential coordination will not possible until the subject learns to move the legs, hips, and truck forward powerfully as the arms move backward. Good feedback for Peter would be to praise him of his badminton forehand clear and use cues such as “Let’s use that good leg drive more by turning sideways to the shuttlecock, step forward, and rotate your trunk into the clearing”.

The justification

O’Keeffe (2007) has found that the participants’ badminton forehand clear have improved following the practice in the fundamental overarm throw. He has proposed the coaches or teachers to teach the fundamental skills first before progress to teach the specific skill like badminton clear when the skills are matured.

In this case, the transfer of learning will have the positive influence when Peter starts to learn the badminton forehand clear, forehand drop shot and forehand smash. The amount of transfer which was calculated on inter-task transfer according to the formula below (Magill, 2004, p234) will be greater for the subject, Peter than someone who has no training on overarm throwing.

%Transfer = Experimental – Control

—————————— X 100

Experimental + Control

In addition, the badminton clear is the most common and important of all badminton strokes and it has the high percentage of transfer from the overarm throw, hence the coaches or teacher will propose to start with this intervention first.

The negative transfer

(Magill, 1999) Negative transfer is refers to the interference of previous learning in the process of learning something new. There are 2 situations that are susceptible to negative transfer are one is the change in the spatial locations of a movement in response to the same stimulus and the other is the change in the timing characteristics of the movement in response to the same stimulus.

One of the possible negative transfer from the movement of overarm throw to the action of badminton forehand clear is the subject Peter has practiced overarm throw in a specific way such that a specific perception-action coupling has grew between the perceptual characteristics of the task and the motor system (Magill, 1999). Therefore, when Peter sees a familiar perceptual array, the motor system has a preferred way to respond to those characteristics. The perception-action coupling becomes very problematic when there is change from preferred state (overarm throw) to a new state (badminton forehand clear), Peter will not be able to execute his badminton forehand properly.

The quantification of success

The success of the intervention can be measured using a qualitative analysis checklist of key factors for each of the following components for badminton forehand clear (Downey 1993):


Approach to contact


Follow through

The following is the sample detail checklist that will be use to assess the success of the intervention. Two tests will be conducted for Peter, one is before teaching Peter the techniques of doing the forehand clear and one is after teaching him how to do.


Pre Test

Post Test




Loose Wrist

Feet Wide Apart

Sideways On (This is the key skill)

Non Striking Hand pointing at the shuttlecock

Follow Through


The subject, Peter will score by demonstrating the appropriate action or not. Two points will be awarded if Peter can do it really well. 1 point if only do it a little bit and no points if they don’t do it at all, the maximum Peter can get is 12.

From the above, the findings can show clearly what aspect of the forehand clear Peter has to improve on. After a few session of intervention, the similar tests will be conducted for Peter again.


Transfer of learning is one of the most universally applied principles of learning in education and rehabilitation. Transfer of learning is positive when previous learning accelerates the learning of a new task. Like in the case of Peter, he is able to do badminton forehand clear much better than someone who did not have an overarm training.


Magill, R.A (2004) Motor learning concepts and applications (7th edn) (Boston, MA, McGraw-Hill International)

Seefeldt, V. (1979) Developmental motor patterns: implications for elementary school physical education, in: C.Nadeau, W. Halliwell, K. Newell & C. Roberts (Eds) Psychology of motor behavior and sport (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics), 314-323.

Gallahue, D.L. & Ozmun, J.C. (2004) Understanding motor development. Infants, children, adolescents, adults (5th edn) (Madison, Brown & Benchmark).

D Knudson & C. Morrison (1996). Qualitative Analysis of human movement (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics).

Broer, M.R & Houtz, and S.J. (1967) Patterns of muscular activity in selected sport skills: an electromyography study (Springfield, IL, Charles C. Thomas Publisher).

Wikipedia (2010). Badminton. Retrieved Jun 09, 2010 from

Chua Yap (2006). Badminton Techniques. Retrieved Jun 09, 2010 from