Motor skill learning consists of improvement in two main components: action selection and action execution. Although sports’ coaching identifies reward and punishment as having important but dissociable effects for optimising motor skill learning, it is unknown whether they influence selection and/or execution. In addition, whilst current laboratory-based motor skill tasks have investigated the impact of reward and punishment on learning, they have failed to distinguish between improvements in these components. To examine how reward and punishment may impact selection and execution, we discuss their effects in cognition and motor control. We highlight several similarities between these results and those reported in sports coaching and laboratory-based motor skill learning. However, to fully understand these links, we believe novel laboratory-based motor skill learning tasks that allow the effects of reward/punishment on selection and execution to be examined independently are required.