The Distance Effect and Level of Expertise: Is the Optimal External Focus Different for Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Performers?
Human Movement Science
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Focusing attention on a movement effect that is farther away from the body (distal external focus) has been shown to result in more effective motor performance or learning than focusing on an effect that is in greater proximity to the body (proximal focus). The present study examined whether the distance of the external focus impacts the performance of relatively inexperienced and experienced performers differently. Low-skilled and high-skilled volleyball players passed a volleyball continuously to a target. In the proximal focus condition they were asked to concentrate on the “platform,” whereas in the distal focus condition they were instructed to concentrate on the target. The high-skilled group's accuracy scores were higher in the distal relative to proximal focus condition. However, low-skilled players' accuracy scores was greater in the proximal relative to distal focus condition. We argue that the optimal distance of the external focus depends on the level of expertise when the skill requires a specific movement technique. An external focus on that technique seems to be more advantageous for low-skilled performers. In contrast, when the movement pattern has become more automatic (high-skilled performers), a focus on the overall movement effect is more beneficial.
Focus of attention; Sports; Coaching; Instructions; Volleyball
The Distance Effect and Level of Expertise: Is the Optimal External Focus Different for Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Performers?.
Human Movement Science, 73