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Title: Focus of attention : execution of form, anxious performance and consideration in imagery application
Author: Gottwald, Victoria Mary
Awarding Body: Prifysgol Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2011
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In teaching and coaching environments we are continuously instructing or guiding athletes in order to enhance their performance. The content of these instructions often direct the athlete’s attention to particular aspects of either their movements or the outcomes of the to-be-performed skill. It is therefore particularly important that we are able to discern between the efficaciousness of instructions that lead either to attention being directed to movement production or to movement outcome. Although the more prominent literature that investigates the above is relatively recent, work actually dates back to as early as the 19th Century. Here James (1890) suggested that for successful performance in reaching and grasping tasks, attention should be directed to movement outcome as opposed to movement production. Since then Wulf has been a proponent in the development of research in this area, namely focus of attention (FOA) (for a review see Wulf, 2007a). Her work has been pivotal in developing definitions of both internal and external foci of attention and in offering hypotheses for the efficaciousness of each (i.e., the Constrained Action Hypothesis [CAH] [Wulf, McNevin & Shea, 2001]). Wulf defines the adoption of an internal FOA as occurring when participants focus on their body movements during performance. For example, the snapping motion of the wrist in basketball during the free throw action. On the other hand, external FOA is defined as attention that is directed towards the movement effects of action e.g., the trajectory of the ball during the free throw action. The CAH suggests that attending to movements can interfere with normally automatic response programming and disrupt performance, whereas attending to the outcome of action promotes movement automaticity and serves to enhance performance. Support for this suggestion has been shown across a variety of sporting domains and populations (for a review see Wulf, 2007a).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available