Homoeostasis Performance Model is a synthesis between Noakes’s Central Governor Model and Schmidt’s Conceptual Model of Human Performance. Some of the Bernstein’s conclusions about motor controler, who controls human movement, were:
- Control system is hierarchycally organized on couple of levels
- There is a feed-back that connects lower parts with higher parts of control system, which is used to adjust motor comands
- Time lag between neural connections finaly leads to a need of combining signals from feed-back with feed-forward preprogrammed, anticipatory signals
- Number of degrees of freedom of the motor system is always bigger than needed. System is redundant and the control can be viewed as the process of solving redundancy problems (finding the optimal control strategy - learning)
So basically, skill is a result of the process of searching the optimal solution for a particular motor task/problem. Abilities are the undelying (hiden, latent) factors that affect performance and skill. But abilities are also measured via performance, so there is no such thing as a crisp boundary between skills and abilities. When you want to measure strength, you can give someone to do 1RM squat. But doing squats takes skill to accomplish, especially with begginers. So, I would say that stregth is a skill, rather than a some hidden, latent factor – ability. Same thing for a endurance, speed, flexibility, agility and other.
I am not saying here that there is no such thing as abilities, but I am saying that it is hard (or maybe impossible) to put the line between skills and abilities, because they are interelated, and cannot exist by themself alone.
It is quite helpfull to look at the things that, specific skill uses specific abilities to solve specific problems. If there is no needful development of underlying specific ability, then the skill cannot be learned nor performed. It is imposible to teach someone to squat 200kg with proper skill (technique) if his level of strength (ability) is poor. Same thing with sprinting form. It cannot be learned nor reached if the underlying strengths and flexibilities (and endurance to maintain it) are not well developed. Pushing the athlete to do something he cannot do because of the lack of underlying abilities is only frustrating and can lead to injuryes.
Skill is NOT such thing as stereotype or fixed patter (of muscular activation), but rather a dynamic, complex, continual motor problem solving. To teach some skill, you should not give answers but rather questions.
Ability structure makes things more complex, because there is no consensus about their number nor interrelation. This is also one more proof that the line between skills and abilities is hardly made. There is one general ability which correlates with every other. Is is coordination. Coordination is specific ability to control movement, but there is also a number of types of coordination. This makes things more complex. We can look at the coordination as the connection between skill and abilities.
There is a trend in my country (Serbia) to develop coordination with youth, which can help later with learning and performing sport specific skills. The question is can coordination be developed, by the way, there is different types of coordination. I am thinking that giving kids a various exercises does not improve coordination (or it is) but rather enrich their motor space, so there is a skill transfer later in their sport development to more specific sport skills. This is not the issue here, so we are going to leave this debate for some other time.