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Camilo Sáenz-Moncaleano, Itay Basevitch and Gershon Tenenbaum

The authors studied gaze behaviors in high- and intermediate-skill tennis players while they performed tennis serve returns. Participants returned 40 serves in 4 serve locations while wearing a mobile eye tracker. The ball’s flight path was deconstructed into 3 distinct locations (i.e., ball before bouncing on surface, the bounce area, and ball after bouncing on surface), and gaze behaviors along with quiet-eye (QE) onset and durations were recorded. Results revealed that (a) high-skill players exhibited better return shots than their lower skill counterparts, (b) high-skill players and high-score shots were characterized by longer fixation durations on the ball at prebounce, and (c) longer QE durations were observed for high-skill players and high-score shots. Findings provide valuable insight into the relationship between gaze behaviors, QE, and performance in fast-pace interceptive sports.

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Edson Filho, Lael Gershgoren, Itay Basevitch, Robert Schinke and Gershon Tenenbaum

The present study was an initial attempt to capture and describe instances of shared mental models within a team from the point of view of the team captain. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to describe a range of perceived and shared behaviors aimed at facilitating the overall performance of a college volleyball team from the perspective of the team captain. This behavioral focus is congruent with the need for documenting observable task and team-related coordination mechanisms. Symbolic interactionism, via the use of systematic observations, documental analysis, and semistructured open-ended interviews, was used to gather data from the participant in the form of a case study. Data were analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) theoretical thematic analysis based on categories derived from Eccles and Tenenbaum’s (2004) Conceptual Framework of Coordination in Sport Teams. Results indicated that the player’s actions were perceived as enhancing proactive information sharing within her team. Therefore, it is suggested that team leaders possess important objective and symbolic roles in the promotion of shared mental models. These results are further discussed in relation to current knowledge of shared mental models in sports. Limitations and directions for future research are outlined.

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Itay Basevitch, Gershon Tenenbaum, Edson Filho, Selen Razon, Nataniel Boiangin and Paul Ward

The authors tested the notion that expertise effects would be more noticeable when access to situational information was reduced by occluding (i.e., noncued) or freezing (i.e., cued) the environment under temporal constraints. Using an adaptation of tasks developed by Ward, Ericsson, and Williams, the participants viewed video clips of attacking soccer plays frozen or occluded at 3 temporal points and then generated and prioritized situational options and anticipated the outcome. The high-skill players anticipated the outcomes more accurately, generated fewer task-irrelevant options, and were better at prioritizing task-relevant options than their low-skill counterparts. The anticipation scores were significantly and positively correlated with the option prioritization and task-relevant options generated but not with the total options generated. Counter to the authors’ prediction, larger skill-based option-prioritization differences were observed when the play was frozen than when it was occluded. These results indicate that processing environmental information depends on temporal and contextual conditions.

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Itay Basevitch, Brooke Thompson, Robyn Braun, Selen Razon, Guler Arsal, Umit Tokac, Edson Medeiros Filho, Tonya Nascimento and Gershon Tenenbaum

The aim of the current study was to test the effectiveness of pleasant odors on perception of exertion and attention allocation. A secondary purpose was to employ a placebo-control design and measure perceived smell intensity during task performance; methods that have been overlooked in previous olfaction studies in the sport and exercise domain. Seventy-six college students (35 females, 41 males) were recruited to perform a handgrip task. They were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: control, placebo, lavender odor, and peppermint odor. Adhesive strips were placed under the noses of those in the latter three groups. The placebo group had a strip with no odor. The lavender and peppermint odor groups had a drop of concentration on the strip. After establishing a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) level, participants performed at 30% of their MVC level for as long as they could tolerate, during which they provided ratings of perceived exertion (or effort; RPE), attention, and smell intensity at 30s intervals, and affect every 60s. MANOVA procedures failed to reveal significant differences among the treatment and nontreatment groups on rate of perceived exertion, attention allocation, and total time duration on the task. However, statistical differences were found between both odor groups and the placebo group on perceived attention diversion. The lavender group reported that the odor diverted attention to a higher degree than both the peppermint and placebo groups. Although nonsignificant, findings revealed a trend suggesting that odors may have an effect on cognitive processes, and on performance. There is a need for additional research to better capture these effects. Directions for further research, with an emphasis on methodological issues are outlined.