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Taking Coal to Newcastle Thank-you Pete Smith, KNR.

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1 Taking Coal to Newcastle Thank-you Pete Smith, KNR

2 Attentional focus, moderators and theory Pete Smith, KNR

3 Focus of attention Internal – Direct learners’ attention to their body movements External – Direct learners’ attention to the effects of their body movements For example (balance task): Internal: “focus on keeping your feet horizontal” External: “focus on keeping the markers horizontal”

4 Hypotheses Common coding view (Wulf & Prinz, 1990) – Actions planned in terms of their outcomes – “Constrained action” hypothesis (McNevin et al. 2000) Internal focus leads to “freezing” degrees of freedom (after Vereijken et al. 1992) External focus allows movement system to “more naturally self- organize” Conscious processing hypothesis (Poolton et al. 2006) – Internal focus processes more information than does external Internal focus = internal and some external information External = just external

5 Hypotheses Predictions (relative to control condition)? Constrained action hypothesis Avoidance of conscious processing to which both other groups are prone Conscious processing hypothesis Avoidance of conscious processing Some conscious processing Most conscious processing ? An internal focus is the norm An internal focus is worse than the norm

6 Study 1 Attentional focus effects in children – PE curriculum (Graham, 2010) Increase the number of cues as children age Cues draw attention to critical elements of skill – Internal focus? – Task complexity effects Wulf, Töllner & Shea (2007) – errors required to induce internal focus – Generalizable to all ages?

7 Study 1 Attentional focus effects in children – 42 6-7 year olds, 42 8-10 year olds – All learned two tasks – Trained one day, tested the next Bassin Timer Pedalo Internal: “use your finger to hit the button” External: “hit the button” Internal: “move by pushing your feet forward” External: “move by pushing the boards forward”

8 Study 1 Practice and retention trials – Bassin Timer 30 trials practice (10 at each of three velocities) – Reminded of focus every 3 trials 15 trials retention test 24 hrs. later (5 at each of 3 velocities) – Pedalo 10 trials forwards, 10 trials backwards, 5m per trial – Reminded of focus every 2 trials 4 forward, 4 back, 24 hrs. later, as quickly as possible

9 Study 1 Results – Bassin timer Only learning effects and age effects – Pedalo Age by focus interaction in retention

10 Study 1 Findings – Performance of both tasks improved with practice – Older children performed better than younger children throughout. – No differences due to attentional focus during practice. – Retention differences perhaps supported Wulf’s (2007) interpretation of focus of attention effects, rather than Poolton et al.’s (2006) Where differences existed, external focus performed better than either internal focus or control No evidence of an internal focus impairing performance relative to control (as suggested by Poolton et al., 2006) Focus effects only found in the more complex task, for the older children

11 Study 2 Task complexity, age, and sex effects – Premises: Deliberate performance is detrimental – Deliberate performance can be elicited due to errors made during practice – complexity & age effects – Deliberate performance can be elicited due to focus on outcomes (males) or form (females) (Wulf, Wächter, and Wortmann, 2003) – females should benefit from an external focus Deliberate performance can be avoided by enforcing an external focus – Suggests stronger focus effects with younger people, more complex tasks, and for females

12 Two tasks, differing in complexity Two ages: 48 8-10 year olds, 48 undergrads (19-26) Males and females Study 2

13 Practice and retention trials – All trials over 7m path – 20 practice trials (all forwards) – no time limit – 4 retention trials 24 hours later (all forwards) as fast as possible

14 Study 2 Practice effects – no focus effects – Age by practice by complexity interaction

15 Study 2 Retention effects – Only present for males – Only present for the complex task – Equally beneficial regardless of age

16 Study 2 Findings – Muddy – Complexity effect emerged, only for males – No age effect Age differences gone by end of practice – Males rather than females susceptible to focus effects – Manipulation check revealed no difference in success with focus

17 Study 3 Coaches’ cues, teachers’ cues: – Duba, Kraemer, and Martin (2007): “curl your wrists under the bar” & “bring your shoulders to your ears” (for power clean) – Physical education literature (Fronske & Wilson (2001) “arm close to body, brush shorts” (volleyball serve).

18 Study 3 Specificity of internal focus cues: – Bernstein’s (1967) endpoint control Russell (2007) and Oudejans, Koedijker, and Beek (2007) – Outcome invariant, joint movements giving rise to outcome variable » Blacksmiths’ hammer example – Focusing on one aspect of a movement (as with an internal focus) may introduce a type of control counter-productive to this endpoint control – Moreover, the more specific the internal focus is to the role of one joint within the overall organization of the movement, the more potentially disruptive to the overall organization of the movement it may be.

19 Study 3 Standing long jump Groups and Focus Cues: (1)Narrow Internal Focus- “Focus your attention on extending your knees to jump as far as possible” (2)Broad Internal Focus- “Focus your attention on using your legs to jump as far as possible” (3)External Focus- “Focus you attention on jumping as far as possible past the start line” (4)Control (no assigned focus) Dependent Measures: Jump Distance (cm) Data Analysis: An ANCOVA on jump distance was conducted with participant height as the covariate.

20 Study 3 5 jumps in each condition Results – No effect of specificity

21 Study 4 Related to the task complexity effect again – Performance only examined this time – Wulf, McNevin, Shea (2001) No effects in practice, only in retention (balance task)

22 Study 4 Related to the task complexity effect again – Difficulty of maintaining any focus when making errors Poolton et al. (2006), Wulf et al. (2001): Attention switches common Why no effects during practice? – Wulf and others’ findings due to subjects’ inability to maintain focus early in practice?

23 Study 4 Balance task, one trial (after warm up) – 39 students – 4 conditions (45s each) Control Internal External Digit span – Counterbalanced

24 Study 4 Results – Digit span better than all conditions

25 Study 4 Implication – Attentional requires complexity to emerge (Wulf et al. 2007) – But beyond that level they may disappear again, at least temporarily The difficulty of maintaining focus of attention becomes challenging, & performance differences do not emerge as a result. – Then other methods of manipulating attention (Nafati & Vuillerme, 2011) may prove more effective.

26 Study 5 Pedalo Warm-up, 20 trials practice 4 trials retention (24 hrs later) 3 groups – Internal – External – Distraction

27 Study 6 Balance Warm-up, 14 trials practice (2 days) 3 trials retention (24 hrs later) 3 groups – Internal – External – Distraction

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