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 Zohar Mayan
Two studies were carried out in order to examine the effectiveness of preperformance routines when learning a self-paced motor skill in volleyball. In Study 1, observational and verbal data were collected on elite male volleyball players in order to determine patterns of motor behaviors performed before they served the ball. In Study 2, beginning female learners were taught two variations of preperformance routines when learning the serve in volleyball: motor-emphasized and cognitive-emphasized. The routines were developed based on the data collected in Study 1. The data analyses revealed that the motor-emphasized learners were more accurate than the cognitive-emphasized learners in retention trials. It was concluded that it may be more beneficial for beginning learners to perform preparatory routines in which an emphasis is made on motor preparation.
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, Uri Miller and Arie Rotstein
In light of the dramatic increase in the older adult population, we analyzed publications on aging and physical activity during the last 3 decades, based on (a) the ratio of the number of publications on aging to the total number of publications and the ratios of (b) the total number of publications on physical activity and aging and (c) the number of such publications in 6 selected journals to the number of publications on physical activity in general. Our findings indicate that few changes have occurred during the last 3 decades with regard to the volume of publication on aging and physical activity. Two conclusions can be reached: (a) The interest of researchers in exercise and sport sciences does not reflect that of society at large concerning older adults, and (b) an in-depth analysis should be conducted to study the periodicals that are published not only in the area of exercise and sport sciences but also in other related areas such as medicine, psychology, and health.
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, Boris Blumenstein and Gershon Tenenbaum
The purpose of this article is to examine how phase-specific psychological interventions were used in an annual training program of elite male basketball players. Psychological intervention introduced to elite athletes during their training program reflects the aims of each critical phase of the program, namely the preparation, competition, and transition phases. In addition, while conducting psychological consultations, the sport psychologist should take into consideration the specific objectives of other preparations in the training program, such as the physical, technical, and tactical. The specific psychology intervention in each phase of the basketball training program, the philosophical approach to the intervention process, and the reasoning behind the use of the certain psychological techniques at each specific phase of the program are discussed.
Robert N. Singer, Ronnie Lidor and James H. Cauraugh
The effectiveness of three learning strategies on achievement was compared in the learning and performing of a self-paced motor task. More specifically, investigated was the influence of (a) an awareness strategy (to consciously attend to the act and to what one is doing during execution); (b) a nonawareness strategy (to preplan the movement and perform the task without conscious attention to it; “to just do it”); (c) the Five-Step Approach (to systematically ready oneself, image the act, focus attention on a cue, execute without thought, and evaluate the act and the previous steps); and (d) a control condition (to use one’s own approach). Subjects (N = 72) received 250 trials to master a computer-managed ball-throwing task, and 50 more in a dual-task situation. The Five-Step Approach and nonawareness strategies led to the highest achievement, and the three strategies resulted in less radial error in comparison to the control condition.