Access Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Exercise and Sport Science

First Advisor

Qin Lai

Abstract

Focus of attention can be directed externally or internally. External focus (EF) means that the focus is on the effect of the movement or the intended target, whereas in the internal focus (IF) the focus is on the movement itself (i.e. muscles and joints). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of IF, proximal EF (pEF), and distal EF (dEF) on learning dribbling and passing in soccer. In experiment one, forty male (n=22) and female (n=18) healthy Wayne State University students were divided into four groups; IF, pEF, dEF, and control group (CG). Participants completed one pretest block (6 trials) of passing a soccer ball to a target before completing 5 additional acquisition blocks at the first visit. All participants completed one retention block 48 hours later. Participants were instructed to focus on their foot (IF), on the ball (pEF), or on the target (dEF) while passing the ball. No specific focus instructions were given to the CG. Five technical points were assessed and for each mistake the score was reduced by one to calculate the adjusted passing score. The findings showed significant differences for the dEF group over all the other groups in acquisition and retention test (p<.05). Technical errors also were decreased significantly under the dEF condition. In experiment two, forty male (n=20) and female (n=20) healthy Wayne State University students were divided into the same four groups; IF, pEF, dEF, and CG. Participants completed one pretest block (6 trials) of dribbling a soccer ball through 7 flags before completing 5 additional acquisition blocks at the first visit. All participants completed one retention block 48 hours later. Participants were instructed to focus on their foot (IF), on the ball (pEF), or on the flags (dEF) while dribbling the ball. No specific focus instructions were given to the CG. Five technical points were assessed and for each mistake 0.2 seconds were added to the dribbling time calculate the adjusted dribbling time. The findings showed significant differences for the pEF group over all the other groups in acquisition and retention test (p<.05). Technical errors also were decreased significantly under the pEF condition. Collectively, these findings highlight the effect of EF distance on learning two different types of movements (discrete and continuous). Future research is needed to explore more complex tasks in order to examine attentional focus effects on different phases of the movement.

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