Schmidt's schema theory



  • Schema is a rule or concept that allows us to manipulate skills to use in different ways e.g. angles or distance. 
  • Without schema, sport would be impossible or very difficult. 
  • Schema is a theory that allows us to link motor programmes. You can learn the programme and adopt it to another, e.g. throwing tennis ball + throwing rugby ball. 
  • If we had thousands of motor programmes like computers, we could not store it, nor process it. 
  • Generic programmes e.g. throw can be wrong but we can correct it and adjust because we are human. 
  • Schema is an adapted rule or programme that can be used in different situations and is skill specific. 
  • Skill programmes are generalised and then they can specialise e.g. throw -> dart, frisbee

Schema is used through: 

  • 1: Initial conditions: previous experience in similar situations e.g attacker and defender.
  • 2: Responce specifications - showing knowledge of what to do
  • 1: Sensory consequences
  • 2: Movement outcome
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Recall schema: 

Have you done this before? + Knowledge of responce specifications = recall schema. 

Recognition schema: 

Knowledge of sensory consequences: How did the skill feel? Kinaesthetics? 


Knowledge of movement outcome: Involved knowing what the result of the skill is likely to be. =recognition schema

Schema parts:

1: Initial conditions - subconsious movements

2: Response specifications =recall

3: Sensory consequences 

4: responce outcome = recognition

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