Self-Reported Focus of Attention During Different Batting Conditions in Varsity Baseball Players.
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AbstractThe motor learning literature has demonstrated that one’s focus of attention, whether internal or external should be dependent on the task objective, which is referred to as goal- instruction coupling. The present study was the first study to investigate baseball batting focus of attention strategies across different environmental conditions while also comparing the participants responses to their coaches interpreted instructions. The present experiment examined Ontario University Athletics level baseball batters focus of attention (internal, external, or ‘other’) across three different batting conditions (practice, on deck and in game), compared to their coaches interpreted instruction (interpreted by the athletes) under the practice and in game conditions. The participants completed a questionnaire identifying their focus of attention strategies under the different batting conditions as well as their coaches interpreted focus of attention instruction under the practice and in game conditions. The results showed that a condition that favours an internal focus had the participants predominately report using an internal focus of attention (practice condition), while as a condition that favours an external focus had the participants report using an external focus of attention (in game condition); therefore, supporting the goal-instruction coupling theory. A majority of coaches also preferred a focus of attention strategy depending on the batting condition and task objective, except for the coaches interpreted focus of attention strategy during the in-game at bats. Overall, these findings demonstrate the value of goal-instruction coupling for optimizing one’s focus of attention strategy selection as well as demonstrating that participants were more likely to share a similar focus of attention strategy with their coaches preferred focus of attention.
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