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Rate Limiters in Motor Development: Concepts and Mechanisms of Badminton Skills

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Task and Context

Throughout this unit of physical education, various motor learning concepts have been explored and integrated within badminton performances. A personal motor learning strategy was developed, based on rate limiters, experience, practice, feedback and reflection. This strategy was then incorporated with a specialised movement sequence in order to advance and optimise personal performance in badminton. This task requires the performer to analyse and justify the effectiveness of the strategy, recommendations and modifications to improve the motor learning strategy are then presented for future implementation.

Motor Concepts

Motor learning encompasses a variety of complex processes, based on psychological, physical and mental factors, within your brain that respond to practise or experience to refine new motor skills (Krakauer and Mazzoni, 2011). This is especially prominent within the sport of badminton, where there are various specialised movements and concepts to process in gameplay. There are various motor learning concepts and principles that affect motor learning, these consist of rate limiters, feedback and types of practice.

Rate limiters refers to the aspects of constraint present within gameplay and how it affects and restricts performance. There are various types of rate limiters, these include physical, psychological, physiological, tactical and technical rate limiters. The performer’s height, motivation, speed, stamina and technique are all examples of the different types of rate limiters that heavily influence motor learning and assistance of the development of a suitable strategy, as the performer identifies the limitations and evaluates ways to overcome rate limiters. Feedback is information regarding the observed positive and negative aspects of one’s performance, provided during or after the performance. There are 2 main types of feedback, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic refers to the feedback of the individual that occurs internally, based on the personal judgement of their performance, while extrinsic is feedback supplied externally and after the performance occurs, usually from the opinion and assessments of a coach, or observers of the performance.

There are various types of practice to assist in motor learning, often categorised into massed or distributed practice. Massed practice is where most of the time is allocated to performance training such as match-play and shot practice, with small breaks for reflection, thus building experience, confidence, and enhancing physical and physiological skills. Distributed practice is when is a small proportion of time is allocated to play time, mainly involving varied drills. Most of the time is spent reflecting and analysing performance, thus building technical and tactical knowledge, amending to errors and refinement of gameplay.

There are several types of motor skills when executing physical movements. Motor skills are commonly classified as fine or gross motor skills. Fine motor skills involve the ability to make movements using small muscles to execute delicate and complex movements, usually without a great exertion of energy. Gross motor skills on the other hand is the ability to make movements whilst involving large muscle groups to execute the action (Mauro. T, 2019). Within badminton, both motor skills are utilised whilst performing various movements, gross motor skills are generally applied when performing movements such as overhead smash and lob motions, while fine motor skills are primarily being used when executing the drop shot and wrist movement when playing the forehand and backhand.

The Fitts and Posner’s model for motor learning is a widely utilised program to assist in the recognition of the different stages in motor learning. The model is segmented into 3 stages based on your skill level as you develop motor learning, consisting of the cognitive, associative and autonomous stages. The cognitive stage is the initial stage of motor learning, where a general understanding of essential requirements of the skill is developed through visual and verbal instruction, practise and performance. Inconsistency and a high rate of error is common within this stage. In the associative stage, the performer will begin to build more confidence and demonstrate a more refined set of skills, where errors and constraints are identified, and feedback is implemented into focused practise. The focus is diverted towards the technicalities and biomechanics behind the skill, in contrast to grasping the basic movement concepts and visual perceptions of the movements. The autonomous stage is the final and optimal level of motor learning, where the skill becomes automatic and practically second nature for the learner, where the performer is able to adapt in any environment and easily detect and amend to errors (Starfish Therapies, 2012).


Motor Learning Strategy

The specialised movement sequence the performer had focused to incorporate a strategy with was the smash shot. The smash shot is one of the strongest shots in the game when executed effectively and is essentially

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unreturnable, as it is a powerful shot hit from a high point of contact, angled steeply downwards into the opponent’s court where the opponent has little time to react and defend against. The smash shot is a gross motor skill shot that requires a large amount of practice to effectively implement into match-play, as many preparation and action movements are involved when performing this shot.

There are various rate limiters that are involved when playing badminton that can variably affect the performer. The rate limiters that I had considered throughout practice and match-play were my height, strength, stamina, experience and technique. One considerable rate limiter that I had devised to be affecting my progression in motor learning was my experience and technique. As I have previous and regular experience and application of motor skills in a similar racquet sport, tennis, I had correlated the various specialised movements that are present within tennis and applied the technique to these badminton shots. This had affected my progression as I hadn’t adapted to the constraints and conditions of badminton, such as net height and court size, which differs from tennis. Therefore, through shot practice and extrinsic feedback, I had developed technique and physical skills to progress past the cognitive stage, through refining my application of technique and motor skills used for tennis and rectifying it to adapt to badminton.

Through the consideration of rate limiters, feedback, types of practise and stages of learning, I had developed the personal motor learning strategy. The most effective motor learning strategy devised was to incorporate massed and repetitive practice focused on the performance of a smash, with the gradual increase of power as practice progresses, applying this within gameplay after practice.


Evaluation and Analysis – Effectiveness of Strategy

My personal performance of badminton, with the incorporation of movement and motor strategies, has effectively developed over time. I had focused primarily on the execution of the smash through different smash drills, and transferring this practise and applying motor skills in gameplay. In the first week of badminton, performers were generally in the cognitive stage of motor learning, where visual cues and instructions were the basis of performance, and varied gameplay was the practice for that stage. At this cognitive stage, my smash was far from optimal with regards to body and movement mechanics, various rate limiters such as my height and technique had affected my execution of the smash. As depicted, the weight transferral is poor and body is unbalanced upon impact, therefore the power exerted against the shuttlecock is weak and the smash will most likely be poorly controlled.

After the first week of badminton, I had assessed my smash performance with the assistance of extrinsic feedback from peers and opponents, in the attempt to improve upon noticeable errors with the developed knowledge within the cognitive stage. In the second week of badminton, I had implemented the motor learning strategy of massed practice, where the action of the smash was repeated. There are observable improvements with regards to body and movement skills. As seen, I have a stronger established base and I am more side on towards the net, and my balance had improved greatly as I had used the front arm to balance racquet arm. I had effectively identified the errors of my smash that were present in the first week and advanced past the cognitive stage, and progressing into the associative stage, where performers have a seasoned grasp on mechanics and confidence is built from repetitive practice

I had incorporated the motor learning strategy of practise and executed the smash shot within match-play effectively as well as the identification of rate limiters that restrict my performance. As height was a prominent aspect of limiting my performance, I had refined my movement sequence so that I would overcome the limitation. I had decided to implement a jump within the sequence of my smash to increase the steepness of the angle as well as generate more weight transferral and momentum into the smash to refine and amend to the rate limiter of height and strength.


To summarise, through the exploration of and understanding of motor concepts and mechanics, performers can apply knowledge and experience acquired through their progression of motor learning towards the movement sequences and effective use of motor skills within badminton. In badminton, it is essential to have an effective incorporated motor learning strategy, based on the analysis of personal performance within badminton, as athletes can modify and enhance their game whilst focusing on a distinct element of their gameplay that requires improvement. As evident through my smash shot progression, the implementation of a motor learning strategy regarding the Fitts and Posner model for motor learning is highly useful in improving performance of specific movements within badminton.

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Rate Limiters in Motor Development: Concepts and Mechanisms of Badminton Skills. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Rate Limiters in Motor Development: Concepts and Mechanisms of Badminton Skills.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Rate Limiters in Motor Development: Concepts and Mechanisms of Badminton Skills. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Rate Limiters in Motor Development: Concepts and Mechanisms of Badminton Skills [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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