Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Tymeson, Garth

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Putting (Golf)--Psychological aspects; Context effects (Psychology); Mentally handicapped teenagers--Psychology


Twenty students (16-21 years of age) with moderate mental retardation (MMR) were placed equally into a blocked or random practice group in order to assess the effects of contextual interference (Cl) on learning golf putting skills in three phases: acquisition, transfer, and retention. During acquisition, subjects in the blocked group executed 18 consecutive putts from one of three possible distances (14’9", 19’8", and 247") in each practice session. Subjects in the random practice group performed six putts from each of the three distances in a random order so that the same distance was not repeated more than twice in succession. Transfer was measured by six trials at each of three different putt lengths (9’10", 21’4", and 29'6") performed in a random order immediately following the last acquisition trial. Finally, retention was measured by six trials of the three original putt lengths, performed randomly 14 days after the last practice session. Performance was measured by scoring each putt as the distance from the ball at rest to the center of the hole. These accuracy scores were then converted to absolute error (AE) and variable error (VE) scores for data analysis in blocks of six trials. AE and VE were statistically analyzed for each putt length in two phases: acquisition, consisting of the first 10 blocks; and transfer and retention blocks. Results revealed no significant differences in AE or VE between the random and blocked Cl schedules for any of the putt lengths during acquisition. For the transfer and retention phase, no significant differences were found between groups on the short putt. The blocked group evidenced significantly less AE on transfer than the random group. No significant difference was found between groups for the long putt. Results indicated that although Cl schedule is not necessarily an issue for acquisition, it should be a consideration when planning for transfer and retention. However, the practice-scheduling effects appear to be related to the task. Since the blocked practice schedule did not appear superior to the random, there would seem to be no good reason for educators of individuals with MMR to provide practice according to a blocked schedule (i.e., multiple repetitions of the same task). Teachers should consider employing random practice schedules in order to facilitate transfer and retention.


Includes bibliographical references (62-64)


viii, 72 pages




Northern Illinois University

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