In addition to enhancing throwing accuracy, the automaticity resulting from an external focus also seems to make performance more resistant to skill failure under pressure (Ong, Bowcock, & Hodges, 2010). In the Lohse et al. Int Rev Sport Exerc Psychol. To set a reading intention, click through to any list item, and look for the panel on the left hand side: That is, this line of research has pursued a different question. Similar findings were obtained for 10-year old children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Saemi, Porter, Wulf, Ghotbi-Varzaneh, & Bakhtiari, 2012). Wulf, G. (2007). In that study, attention was directed to a supra-postural task (i.e., holding an object still), either internally or externally, during practice of the stabilometer task. In other studies, maximum vertical jump height was found to be increased with an external relative to an internal focus (and control conditions) for both adults (Wulf & Dufek, 2009; Wulf, Dufek, Lozano, & Pettigrew, 2010; Wulf, Zachry, Granados, & Dufek, 2007) and children (Maurer, 2011). External focus instructions directed at the discus resulted in significantly greater throwing distances than internal focus instructions directed at the hand and wrist. found reduced oxygen consumption with an external focus of attention compared with either of the internal foci. (2003). Therefore, in addition to traditional motor learning paradigms, using between-participant designs and retention or transfer tests, within-participant designs have been used in studies on attentional focus to examine effects on performance. In addition, they have been found for different levels of expertise, ranging from the novices in most studies to intermediate (e.g., Wulf et al., 2002) and experienced performers (e.g., Bell & Hardy, 2009; Wulf & Su, 2007). The only exceptions to this pattern of results were seen in a study using a dart-throwing task in which the target may have facilitated an external focus in the control condition (Marchant et al., 2007), and in studies in which highly skilled performers did not benefit from the external focus instructions and showed similar performances in external focus and control conditions (Banks, 2012, Experiment 2; Stoate & Wulf, 2011). Effortless motor learning? If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. In novice rowers, for instance, a set of instructions directed at the blade (e.g., ‘Keep the blade level during the recovery’) rather than the hands (e.g., ‘Keep your hands level during the recovery’) led to greater improvements in the technique, as evidenced by various kinematic measures after a seven-week retention interval (Parr & Button, 2009). When instructed to focus on the flight of the dart, participants’ variability in the shoulder angle at the moment of release was significantly greater (2.3 degrees) than when the focus was on their arm (1.9 degrees), and throwing accuracy was greater as well. An external focus on the movement of the bar being lifted allowed for a significantly greater number of repetitions than an internal focus on the movements of the limbs involved (i.e., arms, legs) in all three exercises. Lohse and colleagues also analyzed the power spectral density of the EMG signal and found increases in the median power frequency – indicating superfluous motor unit recruitment of larger motor units within the muscles – when participants focused internally (see also Vance et al., 2004). Brain Res Bull 2005;67(4):304-309. No magic pill, device needed!’ (personal communication, 24 October 2011). A recent study by An et al. (2001). Finally, our current understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the attentional focus effect is outlined, and directions for future research are suggested. Participants trained under the external focus condition were significantly more accurate by the end of practice phase (60 trials) than the internal focus group.
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