It has been claimed that an especial skill emerges after massive amounts of basketball practice. Despite this no direct evidence is available to support this claim. The authors aimed to shed light on this question. Thirty-seven male basketball players took part representing four groups: 2 groups of senior players, a cadet group, and a group of juniors. Players performed free throw shots from 7 distances including shots from the free throw line (15 ft). It was shown that an especial skill was present in senior players, but not in junior players who had only 3 years of playing experience. The authors present a descriptive model of especial skill and express it using the formalism of a hierarchical Bayesian model to fit the data and estimate the parameters. This model can account not only for the results, which indicate the presence and a substantial degree of generalizability of especial skill to nearby distances, but also for results of the original study on especial skill where it was proposed that specificity in practice leads to the emergence of the especial skill.
Czyż, S. H., Breslin, G., Kwon, O., Mazur, M., Kobiałka, K., & Pizlo, Z. (2013). Especial Skill Effect Across Age and Performance Level: The Nature and Degree of Generalization. Journal of Motor Behavior, 45(2), 139-152. https://doi.org/10.1080/00222895.2013.763763