Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Motor Behavior, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


Goal setting is a motivational item  that is usually used for enhancing sport skills learning. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of easy versus difficult goals on acquisition and retention of basketball free throws in educable children with mental retardation (AWMR). A total of twenty one AWMR educable students (aged between 8 and 13) were assigned to either a difficult or easy goals group. Participants exercised the task for nine sessions across acquisition phase. Both groups performed a pretest before the acquisition sessions. Acquisition tests were taken during acquisition phase, and immediate and delayed retention tests were also taken after 2 and 10 days of no practice respectively. We performed statistical analyses with a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA), and an independent t test. Results showed that easy goal setting group significantly improved their performance in acquisition and retention phases (P<0.05) while difficult goal setting group showed no improvement in their performance. These findings suggest that setting easy goals instead of difficult goals improves the performance of basketball free throws in children with mental retardation


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