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Christopher M. Janelle, Robert N. Singer and A. Mark Williams

We examined distraction and attentional narrowing in a dual-task auto-racing simulation. Participants were randomly assigned to six groups: distraction control, distraction anxiety, relevant control, relevant anxiety, central control, and central anxiety. Those in central conditions performed a driving task; the other four groups identified peripheral lights in addition to driving. Irrelevant peripheral lights were included in distraction conditions. Participants in anxiety conditions were exposed to increasing levels of anxiety via a time-to-event paradigm. In 3 sessions of 20 trials, measures of cognitive anxiety, arousal. visual search patterns, and performance were recorded. At higher levels of anxiety, the identification of peripheral lights became slower and less accurate. and significant performance decrements occurred in central and peripheral tasks. Furthermore, visual search patterns were more eccentric in the distraction anxiety group. Results suggest that drivers who are highly anxious experience an altered ability to acquire peripheral information at the perceptual level.

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Max C. Stuelcken, René E.D. Ferdinands, Karen A. Ginn and Peter J. Sinclair

This preliminary study aimed to quantify the magnitude of the peak shoulder distraction force during the bowling action of female cricket fast bowlers. An eight camera Vicon motion analysis system operating at 120 Hz recorded the fast bowling actions of 18 Australian female fast bowlers. A three segment inverse solution model of the bowling arm was used to calculate the shoulder distraction force. A large peak shoulder distraction force was recorded during the early stages of the follow-through of the bowling action. When normalized for body weight, the distraction force was within the range of values reported for baseball and softball pitchers, who are considered to be at high risk of shoulder injury. Therefore, the relative importance of the peak shoulder distraction force in the fast bowling action for the development of shoulder pain in female cricket fast bowlers warrants further investigation.

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Gregory A. Dale

The decathlon is a unique track and field event with a storied history in the annals of track and field. Yet, little has been written in the sport psychology literature about the decathlon and the experiences of its participants. The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of elite decathlon participants during their “most memorable performance.” Participants were seven decathletes who have competed at the national and international level. Each athlete had previously scored 8,000 points or more (the standard for excellence in the decathlon) in at least one competition. Because of its emphasis on the participant as the expert, phenomenological interviews were conducted with each participant and transcripts were content analyzed. Two major themes emerged from the interviews: (a) distractions and (b) coping strategies. These themes along with their corresponding subthemes are discussed in relation to other coping research in the sport psychology literature.

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Nicholas D. Parr, Chris J. Hass and Mark D. Tillman

Cellular phone texting has become increasingly popular, raising the risk of distraction-related injuries. The purpose of this study was to compare alterations in gait parameters during normal gait as opposed to walking while texting. Thirty able-bodied young adults (age = 20 ± 2 y, height = 171 ± 40 cm, mass = 61.7 ± 11.2 kg) who reported texting on a regular basis were tested using an 11-camera optical motion capture system as they walked across an 8 m, obstacle-free floor. A reduction in velocity (P < .05) was seen along with additional significant changes in spatial and temporal parameters. Specifically, step width and double stance time increased, while toe clearance, step length, and cadence decreased. Although many of the changes in spatial and temporal parameters generally accompany slowed gait, the complex distraction task used here may have amplified these potentially deleterious effects. The combination of the slower gait velocity and decrease in attention to the surrounding environment suggests that an individual who is texting while walking could be at a greater risk of injury. Tripping injuries while texting could be more likely due to the decreased toe clearance. In addition, increased step width may increase the likelihood of stepping on an unstable surface or colliding with obstacles in close proximity.

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Denise M. Hill, Sheldon Hanton, Nic Matthews and Scott Fleming

This study explores the antecedents, mechanisms, influencing variables, and consequences of choking in sport and identifies interventions that may alleviate choking. Through the use of qualitative methods, the experiences of six elite golfers who choked frequently under pressure were examined and compared with five elite golfers who excelled frequently under pressure. The perspectives of four coaches who had worked extensively with elite golfers who had choked and excelled, were also considered. The study indicated that the participants choked as a result of distraction, which was caused by various stressors. Self-confidence, preparation, and perfectionism were identified as key influencing variables of the participants’ choking episodes, and the consequence of choking was a significant drop in performance that affected negatively future performances. Process goals, cognitive restructuring, imagery, simulated training, and a pre/postshot routine were perceived as interventions that may possibly prevent choking.

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Philip A. Furley and Daniel Memmert

The controlled attention theory of working memory capacity (WMC, Engle 2002) suggests that WMC represents a domain free limitation in the ability to control attention and is predictive of an individual’s capability of staying focused, avoiding distraction and impulsive errors. In the present paper we test the predictive power of WMC in computer-based sport decision-making tasks. Experiment 1 demonstrated that high-WMC athletes were better able at focusing their attention on tactical decision making while blocking out irrelevant auditory distraction. Experiment 2 showed that high-WMC athletes were more successful at adapting their tactical decision making according to the situation instead of relying on prepotent inappropriate decisions. The present results provide additional but also unique support for the controlled attention theory of WMC by demonstrating that WMC is predictive of controlling attention in complex settings among different modalities and highlight the importance of working memory in tactical decision making.

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Michelle Hayes, Kevin Filo, Caroline Riot and Andrea Geurin

have faced harsh criticism from national media for using social media during events, with some labeling this as a competition distraction (e.g.,  Fynes-Clinton, 2012 ). The criticism emphasized athletes’ overuse of social media during events while suggesting that athletes were more concerned with

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Burke D. Grandjean, Patricia A. Taylor and Jay Weiner

During the women’s all-around gymnastics final at the 2000 Olympics, the vault was inadvertently set 5 cm too low for a random half of the 36 gymnasts. The error was widely viewed as undermining their confidence and adversely affecting their subsequent performance. This paper examines whether the vault problem had such a carryover effect. Both pretest scores (from preliminary rounds) and posttest scores (from the final) are available on vault, bars, beam. and floor. Manipulation checks establish that the error had experimental impact on vault performance. However, from comparing means, from analysis of covariance, from multiple regression, and from statistically adjusting the official scores, it is clear that the vault error had little if any effect on later performances or on the final standings. Elite athletes in a closed-skill sport apparently learn to concentrate so well that most can recover from a mishap and refocus successfully for the next effort.

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Evangelos Galanis, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Nikos Comoutos, Fedra Charachousi and Xavier Sanchez

developing effective self-talk interventions; such a contextual factor in sport is distraction. Indeed, the ability of athletes to focus attention efficiently and remain focused on the face of distractions has been recognized as an integral part of sport performance ( Lidor, 2007 ). Nelson, Duncan, and

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James Stephenson, Colum Cronin and Amy E. Whitehead

Aloud as a Reflection-in-Action Tool Superordinate Essence of Think Aloud Suspended above, and in action Benefits of being suspended above, and in action Disadvantages of being suspended above, and in action Subordinate Themes Increased self-awareness Apprehension Improved pedagogy Distraction Improved