The Role of External Action-Effects in the Execution of a Soccer Kick: A Comparison across Skill Level

in Motor Control
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The importance of action-effects for the performance of a soccer kick was examined. Novice, intermediate, and skilled players performed a soccer chip task with the intention of getting the ball over a height barrier to a near or far ground-level target under three conditions: full vision, no vision following ball contact with and without knowledge of results (KR). The removal of vision of the ball trajectory resulted in increased radial error, irrespective of the presence or absence of KR but in a skill-level and target dependent manner. At the near target, novice participants relied on ball trajectory information. Intermediate performers were affected by its removal across both target conditions, whereas skilled participants were not affected by the removal of ball vision. Variability in knee-ankle coordination significantly decreased when vision of the ball trajectory was removed, irrespective of KR and skill level. Although across skill level there was evidence that action-effects information is used to execute the action when it is available, only at the lower levels of skill did this information aid outcome attainment. There was no evidence to suggest that with increasing skill the dependence on this information increases.

Ford and Williams are with the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK. Hodges is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Huys is with the Faculté des Sciences du Sport, CNRS & Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.