This experiment addresses the coordination of point of gaze (PG) and hand movements in a speeded aiming task to predictable targets of three different eccentricities (35, 40, and 45 cm). In each condition subjects moved the eyes, head, trunk, and hand freely. Performance was assessed on 5 blocks of 5 trials. Analyses were conducted for (a) frequencies for initiation order of PG and the hand, (b) correlation between initiation latencies of PG and the hand, and (c) initiation, movement, and response times of PG and the hand. PG always arrived on target in advance of the hand and at approximately 50% of the response time of the hand (proportional time).Varying eccentricity increased initiation time of PG but not of the hand. With learning there was an initial temporal improvement and decreased variability of response within the first 10 trials, and with additional practice response times were further reduced. The importance of proportional time and its relationship to the first submovement in aiming are discussed.
Werner F. Helsen, Janet L. Starkes and Martinus J. Buekers
Ann Lavrysen, Werner F. Helsen, Digby Elliott and Jos J. Adam
The one-target advantage refers to a shorter movement time for one-target aiming movements, in comparison to aiming attempts followed by a second movement. Theoretical explanations of the one-target advantage vary in the extent to which they attribute this phenomenon to prior planning or to online control mechanisms. In this research, we attempted to gain insight into the control of sequential aiming movements by manipulating the availability of online feedback during this first or second movement component. When the participants' vision was occluded during the first movement (Experiment 1) or during the second movement (Experiment 2), their performance was affected, showing that vision was important for online control of the movement sequence. A one-target advantage was found when the second movement was in the same direction as me first, but not when it was reversed with respect to the home button. Both prior planning and online control processes contribute to the one-target advantage. The degree to which these processes are important for limb control depends on the specific task demands.
Peter Catteeuw, Bart Gilis, Johan Wagemans and Werner Helsen
This two-experiment study aims to investigate the role of expertise in offside decision making (Experiment 1) and the effect of perceptual-cognitive training (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, a video-based offside decision-making task followed by a frame recognition task demonstrated a bias toward flag errors and a forward memory shift for less-successful elite-standard assistant referees that is in line with the predictions from the flash-lag effect. In Experiment 2, an offside decision-making training program demonstrated a substantial progress from pre- to posttest for response accuracy, but not for accuracy of memory in the frame recognition task. In both experiments, no differences were found for visual scan patterns. First, these results suggest that less-successful elite-standard assistant referees are more affected by the flash-lag effect. Second, an off-field perceptual-cognitive training program can help assistant referees to deal with the perceptual consequences of the flash-lag illusion and to readjust their decision-making process accordingly.
Peter Catteeuw, Bart Gilis, Arne Jaspers, Johan Wagemans and Werner Helsen
This study investigates the effect of two off-field training formats to improve offside decision making. One group trained with video simulations and another with computer animations. Feedback after every offside situation allowed assistant referees to compensate for the consequences of the flash-lag effect and to improve their decision-making accuracy. First, response accuracy improved and flag errors decreased for both training groups implying that training interventions with feedback taught assistant referees to better deal with the flash-lag effect. Second, the results demonstrated no effect of format, although assistant referees rated video simulations higher for fidelity than computer animations. This implies that a cognitive correction to a perceptual effect can be learned also when the format does not correspond closely with the original perceptual situation. Off-field offside decision-making training should be considered as part of training because it is a considerable help to gain more experience and to improve overall decision-making performance.
Werner F. Helsen, Janet L. Starkes and Nicola J. Hodges
Two studies tested the theory of deliberate practice (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993) and contrasted results with the sport commitment model (Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, & Keeler, 1993a, 1993b). In Part I, international, national, and provincial soccer and field hockey players recalled the amount of time they spent in individual and team practice, sport-related activities, and everyday activities at the start of their career and every 3 years since. In Part II, these activities were rated in terms of their relevance for improving performance, effort and concentration required, and enjoyment. A monotonic relationship between accumulated individual plus team practice and skill level was found. In contrast with Ericsson et al.’s (1993) findings for musicians, relevant activities were also enjoyable, while concentration became a separate dimension from effort. The viability of a generalized theory of expertise is discussed.
Stefanie Hüttermann, Werner F. Helsen, Koen Put and Daniel Memmert
In recent years, several publications examined the underlying mechanisms that might have an impact on decision-making processes under time pressure. This study investigated how individual differences in attentional capability relate to decision making in complex dynamic offside events. A total of 24 professional football assistant referees (ARs) performed an offside decision-making task and an attention-demanding task. ARs with higher attentional capability along the horizontal meridian of their attentional focus made fewer mistakes when judging offside situations in football than ARs with lower capability. This implies that being able to rely on high-attentional capabilities in situations requiring conscious perception of multiple processes is likely to be beneficial for the ultimate decision-making performance.
Peter Catteeuw, Werner Helsen, Bart Gilis, Evelien Van Roie and Johan Wagemans
The offside decision-making process of international and national assistant referees (ARs) was evaluated using video simulations. A Tobii T120 Eye Tracker was used to record the eye movements. Two hypotheses for explaining incorrect decisions were investigated, namely, the flash-lag effect and the shift of gaze. Performance differences between skill levels were also examined. First, results showed a bias toward flag errors for national ARs as expected by the flash-lag effect. Second, ARs fixated the offside line before, during, and after the precise moment the pass was given, implying there was no shift of gaze from the passer to the receiving attacker. Third, no differences were found in scan patterns between international and national ARs. In conclusion, international ARs seem to have found a strategy to better deal with the perceptual illusion resulting from the flash-lag effect. Based on their experience, they have learned to correct for this illusion, and, consequently, show fewer flag errors.
Florian Van Halewyck, Ann Lavrysen, Oron Levin, Digby Elliott and Werner F. Helsen
Older adults traditionally adapt their discrete aiming movements, thereby traveling a larger proportion of the movement under closed-loop control. As the beneficial impact of a physically active lifestyle in older age has been described for several aspects of motor control, we compared the aiming performance of young controls to active and sedentary older adults. To additionally determine the contribution of visual feedback, aiming movements were executed with and without saccades. Results showed only sedentary older adults adopted the typical movement changes, highlighting the impact of a physically active lifestyle on manual aiming in older age. In an attempt to reveal the mechanism underlying the movement changes, evidence for an age-related decline in force control was found, which in turn resulted in an adapted aiming strategy. Finally, prohibiting saccades did not affect older adults’ performance to a greater extent, suggesting they do not rely more on visual feedback than young controls.
Koen Put, Marcus V.C. Baldo, André M. Cravo, Johan Wagemans and Werner F. Helsen
In association football, the flash-lag effect appears to be a viable explanation for erroneous offside decision making. Due to this spatiotemporal illusion, assistant referees (ARs) perceive the player who receives the ball ahead of his real position. In this experiment, a laboratory decision-making task was used to demonstrate that international top-class ARs, compared with amateur soccer players, do not have superior perceptual sensitivity. They clearly modify their decision criterion according to the contextual needs and, therefore, show a higher response bias toward not responding to the stimulus, in particular in the most difficult situations. Thus, international ARs show evidence for response-level compensation, resulting in a specific cost (i.e., more misses), which clearly reflects the use of particular (cognitive) strategies. In summary, it appears that experts in offside decision making can be distinguished from novices more on the cognitive or decision-making level than on the perceptual level.
James J. Malone, Arne Jaspers, Werner Helsen, Brenda Merks, Wouter G.P. Frencken and Michel S. Brink
The purpose of this investigation was to (1) quantify the training load practices of a professional soccer goalkeeper and (2) investigate the relationship between the training load observed and the subsequent self-reported wellness response. One male goalkeeper playing for a team in the top league of the Netherlands participated in this case study. Training load data were collected across a full season using a global positioning system device and session-RPE (rating of perceived exertion). Data were assessed in relation to the number of days to a match (MD− and MD+). In addition, self-reported wellness response was assessed using a questionnaire. Duration, total distance, average speed, PlayerLoad™, and load (derived from session-RPE) were highest on MD. The lowest values for duration, total distance, and PlayerLoad™ were observed on MD−1 and MD+1. Total wellness scores were highest on MD and MD−3 and were lowest on MD+1 and MD−4. Small to moderate correlations between training load measures (duration, total distance covered, high deceleration efforts, and load) and the self-reported wellness response scores were found. This exploratory case study provides novel data about the physical load undertaken by a goalkeeper during 1 competitive season. The data suggest that there are small to moderate relationships between training load indicators and self-reported wellness response. This weak relation indicates that the association is not meaningful. This may be due to the lack of position-specific training load parameters that practitioners can currently measure in the applied context.