Научная статья на тему 'EFFECTS OF ATTENTIONAL FOCUS ON FLYING DISC THROWING ACCURACY IN TERMS OF LATERALIZATION AND THROWING TECHNIQUE'

EFFECTS OF ATTENTIONAL FOCUS ON FLYING DISC THROWING ACCURACY IN TERMS OF LATERALIZATION AND THROWING TECHNIQUE Текст научной статьи по специальности «Клиническая медицина»

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Журнал
Theory and Practice of Physical Culture
WOS
RSCI
Область наук
Ключевые слова
EXTERNAL FOCUS / INTERNAL FOCUS / MOTOR CONTROL / FRISBEE / FOREHAND / BACKHAND

Аннотация научной статьи по клинической медицине, автор научной работы — Starzak Marcin

An external focus of attention rather than internal focus has been found an effective instruction in enhancing motor performance and learning in sport. Previous research has mostly investigated the effects of using attentional foci on task performance, however not including lateralization of movement. The aim of this study was to examine the use of external, internal and neutral focus of attention on forehand and backhand throwing accuracy in respect of functional lateralization. Eighteen male students (21.8±0.7 years, body mass 77.2±8.1 kg, body height 1.78±0.06 m) performed ten bilateral backhand, and forehand Frisbee throws in the counterbalanced order. Data were evaluated by ANOVA with repeated measures followed by Tukey’s test and the level of significance was set at p<0.05. The results found that the throwing accuracy was greater (p<0.05) when the participants were instructed externally compared to focusing internally during the performance of the forehand and backhand throws by dominant and non-dominant arm, respectively. The results support the constrained action hypothesis and provide a practical suggestion to use external instructions rather than internal ones when executing bilaterally forms of throw, particularly when the task is difficult.

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Текст научной работы на тему «EFFECTS OF ATTENTIONAL FOCUS ON FLYING DISC THROWING ACCURACY IN TERMS OF LATERALIZATION AND THROWING TECHNIQUE»

Effects of attentional focus on flying disc

throwing accuracy in terms of lateralization and throwing technique

UDC 796.015

Master of Science Marcin Starzak1

1Department of Sports for All, Jozef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, Poland

Corresponding author: mrogozhnikov89@gmail.com

Abstract

An external focus of attention rather than internal focus has been found an effective instruction in enhancing motor performance and learning in sport. Previous research has mostly investigated the effects of using attentional foci on task performance, however not including lateralization of movement. The aim of this study was to examine the use of external, internal and neutral focus of attention on forehand and backhand throwing accuracy in respect of functional lateralization. Eighteen male students (21.8±0.7 years, body mass 77.2±8.1 kg, body height 1.78±0.06 m) performed ten bilateral backhand, and forehand Frisbee throws in the counterbalanced order. Data were evaluated by ANOVA with repeated measures followed by Tukey's test and the level of significance was set at p<0.05. The results found that the throwing accuracy was greater (p<0.05) when the participants were instructed externally compared to focusing internally during the performance of the forehand and backhand throws by dominant and non-dominant arm, respectively. The results support the constrained action hypothesis and provide a practical suggestion to use external instructions rather than internal ones when executing bilaterally forms of throw, particularly when the task is difficult.

Keywords: external focus, internal focus, motor control, Frisbee, forehand, backhand.

Introduction. From the practical point of view, the verbal instructions and attentional focus are primary ways of communication used by coaches while guiding an athletes' attention during practice and competition [1]. The body of evidence shows benefits of using an external rather than an internal focus of attention in motor learning and performance [2]. This idea is based on the constrained action hypothesis [2], which provides a brief explanation of the effects of attentional foci on the process of movement control. According to this hypothesis directing one's attention externally i.e. on the effect of movement, may result in better performance due to improvement in automatization of motor behavior, whereas directing attention internally i.e. on the technical aspects of movement, may constrain conscious control of movement, decreasing automaticity, and limiting performance.

In sports events, which involve throwing or shoot-

ing tasks, the performance can be maximized by an increase in distance or accuracy of task performance [3]. In this regard, an external focus has been shown to be more beneficial than an internal focus of attention. For instance, Makaruk et al. [4] found an improvement in shot put throwing distance when participants received an external focus instruction versus an internal focus instruction. Similarly, an enhancement in distance was seen in the study of Zarghani et al. [5], when the discus throwers were instructed externally compared to focusing internally. In respect of movement accuracy, the benefits of adopting an external focus of attention were found in darts shooting [6] and basketball free-throws [7].

Most research in this area involves the use of attentional foci of the dominant limb in motor tasks. However, in many sports events, game conditions require to use also non-dominant limbs for successful

performance. The Ultimate Frisbee is an example of a team sport which involves a variety of movements, primary based on passing and throwing skills. The game rules precisely define that moving toward has to make through passing the flying disc between players [8]. Depending on the position of defender the backhand and forehand throws are recognized as the most basic and frequently used technique for passing between teammates [9]. However, forehand throw seems to be a more technically demanding than backward throw [10]. This indicates that throwing and passing accuracy is one of the most important skills influencing game effectiveness in this sport. Therefore, it seems to be important to see whether adopting an external focus of attention could be an effective strategy to enhance throwing performance irrespective of functional laterality and technical abilities.

Objective of the study: was to identify an atten-tional factor that had a positive influence on forehand and backhand throwing accuracy of the dominant and non-dominant arms. The control condition was used as a reference to examine the enhancing or depressing effects of instructions given to the subjects.

Research methods and organization. The participants (n=18, 21.8±0.7 years; body mass 77.2±8.1 kg; body height 1.78±0.06 m) were male students of the University of Physical Education with amateur experience in Ultimate Frisbee competition. The inclusion criterion for this study was that participants were able to technically perform the forehand and backhand throw. Prior to data collection in the experiment, all participants signed an informed consent.

The study used a within-participant design. The order of conditions was randomized and counterbalanced across participants to avoid potential order effects. Each participant completed 10 backhand and forehand throws with a dominant and non-dominant

hand under three attentional conditions: external focus (EXF), internal focus (INF), and neutral focus (NEF). The EXF instruction was: "Focus on the target and throw the disc as accurately as possible". The INF instruction was: "Focus on the proper position of the upper arm while making a throw". The NEF instruction was "Throw it the best you can". The target was a 55 cm x 70 cm rectangle placed at a height of 1.25 cm, and 4 meters in front of the participants. It was assumed that this height would be representative as the most common space in which Ultimate players catch and throw the disc during a match. To determine the effectiveness of throw accuracy, the accuracy indicator (AI) was calculated using the following formula: AI = SA/TA, where, SA - successful attempt, TA - no. of attempts made. A one-way ANOVA with repeated measures was used to evaluate differences in throwing accuracy between the experimental groups (EXF, INF, NEF). When significant effects were observed, Tukey's post-hoc tests were conducted. The level of significance was set at p<0.05 for all analyses.

Results and discussion. Figure 1 presents differences in throwing accuracy of the forehand and backhand for a dominant arm under three conditions. For the forehand throw, the results of the analysis showed a significant difference between groups, F(2.34) = 4.36, p<0.05. The post hoc analysis indicated that the EXF group was more accurate than the INF group when they were performing a forehand throwing. However, there was no significant interaction for the backhand throw, F(2.34) = 1.63, p=0.22.

The mean values of the forehand and backhand throwing accuracy for the non-dominant limb in all groups are presented in Figure 2. The analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between groups, F(2.34) = 3.32, p<0.05, when the backhand throw was performed. The Tukey test found that under

Figure 1. Mean values of the forehand and backhand throwing accuracy for the dominant limb in the external focus of attention group (EXF), internal focus of attention group (INF), and neutral focus of attention group (NEF)

Figure 2. Mean values of the forehand and backhand throwing accuracy for the non-dominant limb in the external focus of attention group (EXF), internal focus of attention group (INF), and neutral focus of attention group (NEF)

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the EXF group backhand throw accuracy was higher than in the INF group. The analysis did not show significant difference, F(2.34) = 0.15, p=0.86, under the forehand condition.

The main finding of this investigation was that an external focus of attention resulted in an increased throwing accuracy compared to an internal focus of attention for the dominant and non-dominant arms, respectively. The current results support the constrained action hypothesis [2] indicating that an external focus of attention promotes better movement automatization than an internal focus of attention. Simultaneously, this is consistent with other findings [4, 5, 7] which suggests that internally focusing on one's own movements constrains the motor system and leads to less accurate throwing performance.

For both dominant and non-dominant conditions, we did not observe differences in throwing accuracy when participants were focusing externally or internally compared to neutral instruction. There were also no differences between adopting a neutral and internal focus during the task performance. These results indicate that not directing focus on anything during the performance of the task may reduce the load of the motor system through the release in conscious control of movement. Therefore, focusing on the movement of throwing arm requires more attentional capacity than an external or neutral focus of attention, which significantly hinders performance.

Conclusions. The results of the present study provide novel insights on how an external focus of attention could enhance motor performance. Firstly, increasing movement accuracy as a result of adopting an external focus seems to be laterality independent. Therefore, in sports events that are bilateral in their specificity, the athletes should be instructed externally rather than internally in order to promote a throwing accuracy and improve proficiency of both upper limbs. Secondly, it appears that an external focus of attention may support a more effective movement execution when the more technically demanding and challenging task is being performed. This may suggest the use of external focus instructions as a good strategy in motor learning to help a learner in an adaptive process to a new or more difficult task.

References

1. Makaruk H., Porter J.M. Focus of attention for strength and conditioning training. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2014, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 16-22.

2. Wulf G. Attentional focus and motor learning: a review of 15 years. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2013, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 77-104.

3. Gryko K., Bodasinski S., Bodasinska A., Zielinski, J. Offensive and Defensive Play in Handball in a 2-Year World Championship Cycle: Characteristics and Tendencies. Polish Journal of Sport and Tourism, 2018, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 10-16.

4. Makaruk H., Porter J.M., Makaruk B. Acute effects of attentional focus on shot put performance in elite athletes. Kinesiology, 2013, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 55-62.

5. Zarghami M., Saemi E., Fathi I. External focus of attention enhances discus throwing performance. Kinesiology, 2012, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 4751.

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7. Zachry T., Wulf G., Mercer J., Bezodis N. Increased movement accuracy and reduced EMG activity as the result of adopting an external focus of attention. Brain Research Bulletin, 2005, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 304-309.

8. World Flying Disc Federation. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.wfdf.org/downloads/doc_ download/541-2015-member-association-cen-sus-information-

9. Sasakawa K., Sakurai S. Biomechanical analysis of the sidearm throwing motion for distance of a flying disc: A comparison of skilled and unskilled Ultimate players. Sports Biomechanics, 2008, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 311-321.

10. Baccarini M., Booth T. Essential ultimate: teaching, coaching, playing. Human Kinetics, 2008.

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