Attentional focus as a function of feedback frequency in university female hockey players
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The effect of frequency of feedback as a function of attentional focus when learning a complex sport-specific skill, was examined. The feedback aimed at inducing either a focus on the body movement produced (internal focus) or on the movement effects on the environment (external focus). The hypothesis tested, were drawn around findings from Wulf, McConnel, Gärtner and Schwarz (2002). An interaction between feedback frequency and focus of attention was predicted. A reduced frequency paired with an external focus of attention was expected to be optimal for learning. Experienced hockey players (n=24) were taught to ‘drag- flick’ the ball at a target. Their accuracy scores were recorded over 2 Days of Trials and a delayed retention test. The participants were randomly assigned to either an internal or external focus group, they were then further divided down into groups receiving 33% or 100% relative feedback. A feedback frequency of 33% was found to significantly enhance both performance in acquisition and learning in retention (irrespective of focus). An external focus of attention showed to be most beneficial for learning and when paired with 33% feedback was the most effective learning condition. No interaction was reported between feedback frequency and focus of attention. From these results, it can be seen that these are two powerful variable influencing learning. It is more effective to focus on the effects of ones movement rather than the movement itself. By reducing the frequency of feedback, the guiding effects of feedback are reduced and the development of the intrinsic error detection processes is encouraged.
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