What’s on URA activities

Examining the Learning Process to Nurture Motor Abilities


Unit Name:
Motor Ability Research
Unit representative:
Professor Takahiko Nishijima, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences

Unit members:
3 (3 faculty members, 0 postdoctoral fellows, none from other organizations)

Key words:
motor abilities, motor learning, training science, measurement and evaluation for physical education, health promotion


Do you know what the motor learning process is for? When we learn new movements, such movements are programmed based on our daily experiences. This research unit, named: Motor Ability Research, examines developmental stages to learn movements by analyzing methods to measure and evaluate the motor learning process, with a view to clarifying potential motor abilities. Our goal is to help all people, including those who are not good at sports, effectively and enjoyably learn new movements.

Clarifying Complex Motor Mechanisms

Motor skills can be taught and learned. What is the most effective method to execute complex movements? In general, those who are promptly able to execute new movements are considered to have a high-level motor ability, and those who are not are considered to have a low-level motor ability; however, in the latter case, such difficulty is simply associated with cerebral control due to fear. To address this, in this unit, the (Figure 1) to nurture children’s abilities and (Figure 2) for PCs and tablets have been developed. The purpose of these instruments is to nurture potential motor abilities in children who initially show difficulty in executing new movements by comparing the images of each segment of optimal movements and their actual performance.

Figure 1: Learning Notebook

Figure 1: Learning Notebook

Figure 2: Motor Comparison Application "Have You Mastered This Technique?"

Figure 2: Motor Comparison Application “Have You Mastered This Technique?”

Developing Potential Motor Abilities

Some motor abilities, such as running, jumping, and throwing a ball, can be measured based on the speed or distance (Figure 3). In contrast, the ability to execute technically and tactically appropriate movements cannot be measured so easily. In order to promote motor abilities, it is important to develop unmeasurable skills. In line with this, we have also been engaged in the development of simplified tests to measure such unmeasurable motor skills, focusing on those needed in sports. We aim to develop the process of learning motor skills and nurture world champion-level athletes, such as the Japan Women’s Soccer National Team members.

Figure 3: Improvement of 30-m Sprint performance of Men's University Soccer Players

Figure 3: Improvement of 30-m Sprint performance of Men’s University Soccer Players

Social contributions and achievements
For children, adults, and the elderly, as well as athletes
●Performing statistical data analyses to improve children’s physical and motor abilities
●Developing the Learning Notebook for motor learning through physical education
●ICT support for motor learning using the Motor Learning and Comparison Application for tablet PCs
●Nurturing world-class athletes (such as the Japan Women’s Soccer National Team members) through support for motor skill learning

(Interviewed on May 23, 2013)

Research Administration/Management Office at U Tsukuba TEL 029-853-4434