Differential effects on internal versus external focus of attention whilst learning a self paced motor skill
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This investigation examined whether the learning advantages of an external focus of attention would also be found for a sports skill (rugby place kicking) under field like conditions. The subjects (n: 32), inexperienced in place kicking, were randomly assigned to 4 learning conditions. The participants were required to attempt 100 place kicks (10 blocks of 10), scored on a four point scale. Each group was given specific guidance depending on their condition: (l) Internal (holistic) whole body focus; (2) Lrternal part movement focus; (3) External focus; and (4) Control (no guidance). At the end of every block a self reported effort measure was recorded on a scale of 0- 150. After the 50th and 100th attempt a skill report inventory was completed providing generic and episodic information. A two factor mixed ANOVA revealed that all groups enhanced there perfoÍnance as a result of practice from block l- 7 arrd from T- 10. The main effect for group was insignificant, highlighting that no focus prevailed as the most effective for leaming. Self reported effort scores displayed a significant reduction in energy expenditure from block 1 - 6 and from 6 - 10, suggesting progression towards automaticity. The qualitative analysis highlighted that of the 32 subjects 27 reported a greater amount of episodic information concerning their 50th attempt in comparison to their 100th. The current research showed the importance of dedicated sports specific research and the need for sports practitioners to recognise that the role of instructional guidance within skill acquisition has to be addressed with special interest in the role of feedback and the proximity of provided foci.
BSc (Hons) Sport, PE and Recreation
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