Practice using performance goals enhances basketball free throw accuracy when tested under competition in elite players

David L Neumann, Elizabeth Hohnke


The present study tested whether practice using a performance goal enhances accuracy when later tested under the demands of a competition outcome goal for a basketball free throw task. Thirty male elite-level basketball players with a mean age of 24.67 years practiced free throws either with or without a performance goal. The performance goal was constructed with the challenge of bettering an individualised accuracy level. Players were later tested under an outcome goal that emphasised performance in an external competitive situation. Performance was best in players that practiced using performance goals and greater gains were seen in players that showed an initial lower level of performance. Practice using performance goals may improve free throw accuracy in a game situation, particularly for players that are at a relatively lower skill level.


Goal setting; Performance; Basketball; Coaching; Motor skills


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