Golf Performance Newsletter
Coach Noah Talks
Motor Learning w/ Dr. Jared Porter (Part 1)

Motor Learning w/ Dr. Jared Porter (Part 1)

The Learning Paradox, Contextual Interference, and Virtual Reality Tools

Video Version

The Learning Paradox

The group that does really well in practice tends to do poorly on the test, and the group that doesn't do well in practice ends up doing quite well on the test.

This has important implications for learning, as sacrificing some practice performance may actually enhance long-term learning. Coaches should consider the balance between short-term and long-term gains in learning when prioritizing performance during competition.


Contextual Interference

Contextual interference is a psychological phenomenon that occurs whenever we practice two or more skills within a practice session. People default to practicing with low contextual interference because it feels good. It creates perceived success. They don’t realize that it actually hurts them in the long run.

I’ve discussed the importance of contextual interference in a previous post.

Prior to implementing high contextual interference practice strategies coaches should have a conversation with their students about the expected decrease in short-term practice performance. This can prevent frustration or confusion and gain buy-in.


Skill Acquisition

It's like anything in life, to evolve and get better you need a stressor. You induce the stressor through increased complexity.

Golfers should practice in ways that challenge their cognitive and physical abilities. Take a moment to think about how your practice routine has changed in the last 6 months to 2 years. Are you pushing yourself with more complex tasks and diverse training content to continually enhance your skills?

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1:13 — Academic & Professional Background

3:24 — Contextual Interference

14:04 — Implicit vs Explicit Learning

22:04 — Virtual Reality


Research Paper #1: The Effects of Three Levels of Contextual Interference on Performance Outcomes and Movement Patterns in Golf Skills

Research Paper #2: An Examination of the Contextual Interference Effect and the Errorless Learning Model during Motor Learning

Research Paper #3: Virtual motivation: The psychological and transfer of learning effects of immersive virtual reality practice

Research Paper #4: Off the shelf: Investigating transfer of learning using commercially available virtual reality equipment

About Dr. Jared Porter

Dr. Porter’s research investigates how humans learn/re-learn motor skills and how the human nervous system generates skillful movements. He is primarily interested in determining how factors such as virtual/augmented reality, engineered practice, human factors, skill level, cognitive load, decision making, and focusing of attention interact with motor skill learning and performance. His research has practical applications to various settings such as military/tactical mission planning and performance, patient rehabilitation, coaching education, competitive sport settings, and occupational training venues. He is an active member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He is currently an editorial board member for the Journal of Motor Learning and Development and the International Journal of Motor Control and Learning. His research has been funded by federal, state, and local agencies within the United States of America and abroad.

Golf Performance Newsletter
Coach Noah Talks
Noah Sachs explores topics related to coaching and elite sports performance. Through interviews, books, and personal experiences, Noah shares ideas and discusses concepts that can help coaches and athletes perform at the highest level.