Effects of Contextual Interference on Acquisition and Retention of Three Volleyball Skills

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Manipulating the organization of practice conditions, through contextual interference, was identified as a method to promote motor skill acquisition by Brady in 1998. The generalizability of this learning effect is questionable and the amount of repetition versus the amount of change in task presentation requires investigation. The purpose of this study was to explore explanations for the performance of learners practicing the AAHPERD volleyball skills test when the change in task presentation varied. High school students were randomly assigned to blocked, random, and random-blocked practice groups. While all groups significantly improved all skills during acquisition, there was no support for the contextual interference effect. Potential explanations might be dependent upon the learners' skill and the complexity of the task to be learned. Further research is warranted examining contextual interference effect on practice organization at levels of difficulty appropriate to facilitate cognitive processing of task-related information.