This study examined the influence of task difficulties on learning a balance task through observing the warm-up decrement (WUD) phenomenon. Twelve female college students majoring in physical education vonlunteered in this study. All the participants practiced on the stabilometer twenty 30-second trials a day, 3 days per week for 4 weeks. The task difficulty was manipulated with the distance between feet while performing the balance task. Because of the smaller torque generated from a narrow distance, it is easier to perform the balance task in a narrow distance than a wide one. Participants practiced both narrow and wide conditions 10 trials each day. One trial for each condition was examined for the pre-test, mid-test (after two-week practice) and the post-test (after four-week practice), and the duration of balance within the 30-second trial was recorded. The warm-up decrement was measured as the performance difference between the last trial of the previous day and the first trial of the current day of the same condition. The results showed that first, both conditions revealed the significant practice effect on balance time, N condition F(2, 22)=65.282, p＜.05, W condition F(2, 22)=74.652, p＜.05, where the mid-test and the post-test were longer than the pre-test performance. For the pre-test, N had statistically longer balancing time than W, t(subscript 11)=2.725, p＜.05. Second, in general, practice in similar tasks with different difficulty levels could reduce the warm-up decrement, F(1, 11)=11.106, p＜.05. Third, the WUD of W condition was significantly improved through practice, t(subscript 11)=6.265, p＜.05. Forth, the WUD was significantly decreased when the N was followed by W, t11=2.470, p＜.05. In sum, W condition was considerably more difficult than N condition. Performing the more difficult task before the easier one significantly reduced the WUD effect, and the easier task was more likely to benefit (reducing the warm-up decrement) from following a difficult condition at the beginning stage of learning. Based on the findings of the study, performing a more difficult task should reduce the warm-up decrement in the easier task followed.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|