Effect of Observational Expert and Beginner Model on Learning of Basketball Free Throw: The Role of Imagination Capability

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Motor Behaviour, Sport Science Research Institute of Iran (SSRI), Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Motor Behaviour, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Karaj, Iran


The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of observational expert and beginner model on learning basketball free throw skill in those with different levels of imagination capability. For this purpose, 30 students with high imagination capability and 30 students with low imagination capability were selected among volunteered students and divided into 6 groups. The free throw accuracy and model were measured with 10 throws at the pre and post-test stages. At the exercise stage, the participants also performed 240 throws based on the specific protocol of the group. The experimental groups watched the video of the Expert or beginner model at the beginning of each exercise block while the control group did not watch any kind of video. The results of multivariate covariance analysis showed that the accuracy and the model of throws in different groups were significantly different. Those with high imagination capability benefit more from observational learning and learned better than those with low imagination capability. Also, those with high imagination capability significantly benefit from Expert model observation. The results of this research show that in addition to the characteristics of the observed model, which can have a great impact on observational learning, the observers’ characteristics are also very influential in this. One of these effective characteristics was the individual's imagination ability; people with lower abilities were more likely to encounter problems with the use of observational learning. Therefore, developing of individual's imagination ability is necessary for this type of learning.


Adams, J. A. (1971). A closed-loop theory of motor learning. Journal of Motor Behavior, 3, 111-150.
Al-Abood, S. A., Davids, K., Bennett, S. J., Ashford, D., & Martinez-Marin, M. (2001). Effects of manipulating relative and absolute motion information during observational learning of an aiming task. J Mot Behav, 33(3), 295-305.
Arab Ameri, E. (2004). The effect of model skill level and verbal training on retention acquisition and transfer of motion skills. PhD thesis, University of Tehran.
Ashford, D., Davids, K., & Bennett, S. J. (2007). Developmental effects influencing observational modeling: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25(5), 547–558.
Bandura, A. (1969). Principles of behavior modification. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory.       Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice –Hall.
Blandin, Y., & Proteau, L. (2000). On the cognitive basis of observational learning: development of mechanisms for the detection and correction of errors. Q J Exp Psychol A. 53(3), 846-67.
Buccino, G., Binkofski, F., & Fink, G. R., (2001). Action observation activates premotor and parietal areas in a somatotopic manner: an fMRI study. European Journal of Neuroscience, 13, 400–404.
Buchanan, J. J., & Dean, N. J. (2010). Specificity in practice benefits learning in novice models and variability in demonstration benefits observational practice. Psychol Res, 74,313–326.
Cross, E. S., Hamilton, A. F. D. C., Kraemer, D. J., Kelley, W. M., & Grafton, S. T. (2009). Dissociable substrates for body motion and physical experience in the human action observation network. European Journal of Neuroscience, 30(7), 1383-1392.
Cumming, J., & Ramsey, R.1. (2008). Imagery interventions in sport. Advances in Applied Sport Psychology, 5-36.
Ehrsson, H. H., Geyer, S., & Naito, E. (2003). Imagery of voluntary movement of fingers, toes, and tongue activates corresponding body-part-specific motor representations. Journal of Neurophysiology, 90(5), 3304-3316.
Hatami, F. (2004). The effect of model skill level on the performance and learning of a volleyball service. Master thesis, Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran.
Hebert, E. P., & Landin D. (1994). Effects of a learning model and augmented feedback on tennis skill acquisition. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 65(3), 250-257.
Hirose, T., Tsutsui, S., Okuda, S., & Imanaka, K. (2004). Effectiveness of the use of a learning model and concentrated schedule in observational learning of a new bimanual coordination pattern. International Journal of Sport and Health Science, 2, 97-104.
Horn, R. R., & Williams, A. M., Hayes, S. J., Hodges, N. J., & Scott, M. A. (2007). Demonstration as a rate enhancer to changes in coordination during early skill acquisition. Journal of Sport Science, 25(5), 599-614.
Kim, T., Frank, C., & Schack, T. (2017). A systematic investigation of the effect of action observation training and motor imagery training on the development of mental representation structure and skill performance. Front. Hum. Neurosis. 11,499. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00499
Ghobadi N., Daneshfar A., & Shojaei M. (2013). Comparing the effects of and expert models observation on performance and learning of futsal side foot pass. Eur J Exp Biology, 3(1), 508-512.
Lawrence, G., Callow, N., & Roberts, R. (2013). Watch me if you can: imagery ability moderates observational learning effectiveness. Front in Human Neuroscience, 7, 522.
Lee. T.D., & White, M.A. (1990). Influence of an unExpert model’s practice schedule on observational motor learning. Human Movement Science, 9, 349-467.
Magill, R. A. (2007). Motor learning and control concepts and applications. Eighth Edition, Mcgraw – Hill.
McCullagh, P., & Caird, J. K. (1990). A comparison of exemplary and learning sequence models and the use of model knowledge of results to increase learning and performance. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 18, 107-116.
McCullagh, P., & Weiss, M. R. (2001). Modeling: Considerations formotor skill performance and psychological responses. In R. N. Singer, H. A. Hausenblas, & C. M. Janelle (Eds.). Handbook of sport psychology (2nd ed., PP: 238-205). New York: Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Murphy, S., Nordin, S., & Cumming, J. (2008). Imagery in sport, exercise, and dance. In T. S. Horn (Ed.), Advances in sport psychology (pp. 297-324,463-467). Champaign, IL, US: Human Kinetics.
Schoenfelder-zohdi, B. (1992). Investigating the informal nature of a modeled visual demonstration. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LO.
Schmidt, R. A. A. (1975). Schema theory of discrete motor skill learning. Psycol Rev, 82, 225-260..
Scully, D. M., & Newell, K. M. (1985). Observational learning and the acquisition of motor skills: Toward a visual perception perspective. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 11, 169-186
Shea, C. H., Wright, D. L., Wulf. G., & Whitacre, C. (2000). Physical and observational practices afford unique learning opportunities. Journal of Motor Behavior, 32, 27-36.
Sheffield, F. N. (1961). Theoretical considerations in the learning of complex sequential tasks from demonstrations and practice. In Lumsdaine, A. A. (Ed.) (1961). Student response in programmed instruction (Vol. 943). National Academies.
Sohrabi, M., Farsi, A., & Fooladian, J. (2010). (Determining the validity and reliability of the Persian Version Revised Modeling Motion Questionnaire. Research in Sport Sciences, 5, 24-13.
Ste-Marie, D.M., Law, B., Rymal, A.M., Jennie, O., Hall, C., & McCullagh, P. (2012). Observation interventions for motor skill learning and performance: An applied model for the use of observation. International Review of Sports and Exercise Psychology, 5(2), 145-176.
Williams, S. E., Cumming, J., & Edwards, M. G. (2011). The functional equivalence between movement imagery, observation, and execution influences imagery ability. Res Q Exerc Sport, 82(3), 555-564.
Wulf, G., & Mornell, A. (2008). Insights about practice from the perspective of motor learning: a review. Music Performance Research, 2, 1-25.
Zarghi A., Zali A., Tehranidost, M., Zarindast M.R., Ashrafi, F., Doroodgar, S., et al. (2011). Demographic variables and selective, sustained attention and planning through cognitive tasks among healthy adults. Basic Clin Neurosci, 2(3),58-67.