McDevitt, Teresa

Committee Member

Heise, Gary

Committee Member

Da Matta, Gylton

Committee Member

Welsh, Marilyn


Educational Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





170 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The relative effectiveness of verbal versus visually-enhanced feedback was compared for teaching spiking in volleyball. Factors that might produce a greater effect using visually-enhanced feedback were examined. In addition, the current study sought to explore thoughts that participants had while learning to spike. Two outcome measures were assessed to determine if the addition of visual feedback to verbal feedback (visually-enhanced feedback) was a superior way of coaching in comparison to verbal feedback alone. Participants took part in an experimental cross-over design wherein they learned through two types of instruction (verbal and visually-enhanced feedback). Participants received one type of instruction for three sessions and then received the other type of instruction for three sessions. Three testing sessions took place: one at the beginning, one between instructional phases, and one at the end of the experiment. Two outcome measures were assessed: the height of contact when the participant hit the ball (measured using video footage in Dartfish) and the velocity of the ball produced by the hit (measured using a radar gun). A repeated-measures ANOVA was conducted for each outcome measure to evaluate differences between verbal and visually-enhanced feedback. Also, an ANCOVA was computed to see if participants' scores differed based on level of experience or learning preference. After comparing participants' velocity and height of contact scores, no significant difference was found between verbal and visually-enhanced feedback. In addition, the level of experience and learning preference was not a significant covariate. A qualitative analysis of participants' experiences while learning to spike was also undertaken. Participants' cognitions were assessed using a Think-Aloud Protocol in which participants verbalized what they were thinking about during each acquisition session. Athletes' preferences for learning were also evaluated using the Learning to Hit Interview. Participants overwhelmingly preferred the visually-enhanced feedback. After assessing participants' thoughts while learning, six major themes emerged: cognitive processes, knowledge, environmental effects, self-efficacy, emotions, and visual appearance. These themes were similar to previous findings. However, the specific themes of cognitive processes and knowledge were findings that added to the body of literature on athletes' thoughts while learning with visual feedback. This study not only contributed to the scientific understanding of how people learn with visual feedback, it also helped to inform practitioners about the viability of using visual feedback. Practitioners are cautioned that visual feedback might not help athletes learn motor skills more quickly than with verbal feedback alone. Future studies should examine this topic further while also giving attention to variables that might enhance visual feedback. The potential benefit of visual feedback should also be explored by examining participants' changes in technique rather than just looking at their outcome scores.

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