During the past two decades, research has shown that an external focus (EF) of attention is superior to an internal focus (IF) of attention when performing a variety of motor skills. However, most of the studies on the use of EF and IF instructions for motor skill acquisition were conducted on young and healthy adults. The purpose of the current article was fourfold: (a) to review the current research on attentional focus in clinical populations and in older age, (b) to provide evidence-based knowledge about attentional focus instructions and their possible advantages in clinical settings, (c) to discuss methodological concerns associated with the reviewed studies, and (d) to propose practical implications for those who work with clinical populations and older individuals. We found that in 14 out of the 18 reviewed studies, EF instructions led to results that were superior to those of IF instructions. For example, in stroke patients, EF instructions can lead to faster, smoother, and more forceful reaching movements compared with IF instructions. However, a number of methodological concerns should be taken into account, among them the lack of a control group and the absence of studies using electromyography.
Gal Ziv and Ronnie Lidor
Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv
The main purpose of this article is to review a series of studies (N = 18) on the physical characteristics, physiological attributes, throwing velocity and accuracy, and on-court performances of female team handball players. Studies were selected from a computerized search in electronic databases (PubMed, SPORT Discus) as well as from a manual search. Five main findings emerged from this review: (1) a tall and heavy build was advantageous in team handball—mean height ranged from 165.9±.3 cm to 179±4 cm and mean body mass ranged from 62.4±6.2 kg to 72.0±6.3 kg; (2) VO2max values of female players were between 47-54 ml·kg-1·min-1; (3) throwing velocity was higher by as much as 11% in elite female players compared to amateur female players; (4) during 90% of playing time, heart rate (HR) was above 85% of HRmax, and the average VO2 was 79% of VO2max in female players; and (5) on-court distance covered averaged approximately 4 km and varied between 2-5 km in female players, depending on the playing position of the player. Most of the studies reviewed were cross-sectional, and only a few reported data on on-court performance. There is a need for additional manipulative studies to determine the influence of various training programs on game performance. In addition, conditioning programs that develop power and strength should be emphasized, and attention should be given to the player’s playing position and skill level.
Gal Ziv and Ronnie Lidor
The purpose of this study was to review a series of studies (n = 20) examining the effects of adding music to exercise programs in clinical populations and in the elderly. We found that the addition of music can (a) improve exercise capacity and increase patients’ motivation to participate in cardiac and pulmonary exercise rehabilitation programs; (b) lead to improved balance, greater ability to perform activities of daily living, and improved life satisfaction in elderly individuals; (c) enhance adherence and function of individuals suffering from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; and (d) sustain these benefits if continued on a long-term basis. Based on the reviewed studies, a number of methodological concerns were presented, among them the choice of music style. One of the practical implications suggested for clinicians and practitioners was that the type of music should be individualized based on each patient’s musical preferences.
Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv
The purpose of this article was to review a series of studies (n = 31) on physical characteristics, physiological attributes, and volleyball skills of female and male adolescent volleyball players. Among the main findings were (a) that male national players were taller and heavier than state and novice players, while female national players showed lower body fat values compared with state and novice players, and (b) vertical jump values were higher in starters versus nonstarters. Among the methodological concerns based on the reviewed studies were the lack of information on maturational age and lack of longitudinal studies. It was recommended that a careful selection of physiological tests should be made when assessing the abilities of adolescent volleyball players.
Gal Ziv and Ronnie Lidor
The soccer goalkeeper (GK) is required to perform strenuous actions during practice sessions and actual games. One of the objectives of those professionals who work with GKs is to obtain relevant information on physical characteristics and physiological attributes of GKs, and to use it effectively when planning training programs for them. This article has three purposes: (a) to review a series of studies (n = 23) on physical characteristics, physiological attributes, and on-field performances of soccer GKs; (b) to outline a number of methodological limitations and research concerns associated with these studies; and (c) to suggest several practical recommendations for soccer coaches who work with GKs. Four main fndings emerged from our review: (a) professional adult GKs usually are over 180 cm tall and have a body mass of over 77 kg; (b) studies on agility and speed produced mixed results, with some showing similar values between GKs and field players and others showing reduced performance in GKs; (c) GKs usually have higher vertical jump values when compared with players playing the various field positions; (d) GKs cover approximately 5.5 km during a game, mostly by walking and jogging. Four methodological limitations and research concerns associated with the reviewed studies were discussed, among them the lack of a longitudinal approach and the lack of on-field performance studies. Three practical recommendations are made for coaches, one of which is that coaches should adopt a careful approach when selecting testing protocols and devices for the assessment of GKs’ physiological attributes.
Ronnie Lidor, Gal Ziv and Tamar Gershon
In this article we reviewed a series of studies (n = 18) on psychological preparation of the goalkeeper (GK) for the 11-m penalty kick in soccer. The main findings of this review were that deception strategies (e.g., standing slightly off-center) can increase the chances of the kick being directed to a desired direction, and that individual differences among GKs should be considered when planning sport psychology programs for GKs. A number of research limitations and methodological concerns, such as the lack of ecological validity of the tasks performed in the studies and the lack of studies on psychological interventions, were discussed. In addition, a number of practical implications for sport psychology consultants who work with GKs in soccer were suggested.
Ronnie Lidor, Gershon Tenenbaum, Gal Ziv and Vladimir Issurin
Deliberate practice (DP), an activity aimed at enhancing an individual’s performance, has been reported to be crucial for achieving a state of expertise in various domains, such as education, music, and sport. In this article, the relationships between DP and the process of athletic performance adaptation are explored by elaborating on the main principle of the theory of training—periodization. We argue that periodization should be considered as a mechanism for ensuring DP, and that the implementation of periodization principles (cycles and phases) in DP activities can facilitate adaptation processes leading to expert performance. We describe the characteristics and features of DP, review a series of studies on DP and athletic performance (N = 21), discuss the importance of periodization in sport training, and outline a number of benefits of periodization. A model that emphasizes the link between periodization and DP activities in each phase of sport development is proposed, and a number of research approaches to address periodization are discussed.