The Associative Stage
This stage involves the performer physically implementing the motor programme learned during the cognitive stage. This is the middle stage of learning for intermediate performers. The skill learned is refined and gross errors eliminated through repeated practice, developing effective and consistent technique. Gradually, fewer mistakes will be made and the performer will not have to consciously think about many parts of the movement as it will have been stored in ‘muscle memory’. As kinaesthetic awareness of movement develops, the performer is able to provide internal feedback to supplement any external information.
The timescale before progressing into the autonomous stage can vary depending on the level of ability, application and standard of feedback. Simple skills will be mastered quicker than those which are complex.