Literature review of empirical studies using constraints led approach for motor learning, motor performance, and decision making


We examined the degree to which empirical support for a constraints led approach (CLA) was present in peer reviewed journals for investigations of motor learning, motor performance and decision making. While it is a relatively new methodology, our review provided evidence that the number of studies that examined linear vs non-linear approaches in motor learning was quite limited (n=3). However, there were a significant number of studies (n=44) that manipulated constraints (primarily environment and task) to examine the effect of these manipulations on performance and decision making. We analyzed the various characteristics that contributed to these investigations. Generally, the participants in these studies were male, between the ages of 12 to 25 with skill levels that were primarily intermediate or advanced and the majority of studies focused on team sports. While overall there was support for a performance effect, the body of evidence is insufficient to make any conclusive statements about its effectiveness in terms of learning and transfer of motor skills.

Acknowledgments: Funded by the Roger Smith Undergraduate Research Award and the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the University of Alberta