Influence of different focus of attention instructions on learning volleyball skills for young novices
The simultaneous improvement of both form and outcome of sport skills is a challenge for every instructor since these are competing goals, especially for novices, and in the early stages of learning the improvement of movement form is usually more important than outcome. However, when novices have both goals, outcome usually prevails over form. External over internal focus of attention has been proposed by many researchers as an effective method for the development and learning of movement form or outcome. In this study, 57 girls were randomly divided into 2 experimental groups (external and internal) and a control group. All groups performed a pre-test. The two experimental groups followed an intervention program for 12 training units (6 weeks X 2 times a week). A post-test and a transfer test followed two weeks later. Data were analysed by factorial ANOVA (3 groups X 3 measurements) with repeated measurements of the last factor, followed by a post-hoc Tukey test. Both experimental groups, but not the control group, improved their performance in both form and outcome from pre-test to post-test and transfer test. The external focus group scored better in both form and outcome than the internal focus group in the post and transfer tests. It seems that external focus drives a subconscious motor control that results in greater movement automaticity and improves both form and outcome of sport skills. It is concluded that the external focus method is appropriate to develop both form and outcome of perceptual-motor skills.
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