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David Sherwood, Keith Lohse, and Alice Healy

Many research studies have shown the advantage of directing the focus of attention (FOA) externally as opposed to internally. However, it is not clear how the availability of concurrent visual feedback might impact attentional processes as the FOA is shifted between internal, external, relevant, and irrelevant sources of attention. The current experiment varied the FOA by asking the participants to judge joint angles (internal-relevant), respiration (internal-irrelevant), dart release angle (external-relevant), and tone loudness (external-irrelevant) at dart release in which task-intrinsic concurrent visual feedback was available or not. Spatial errors and trial-to-trial variability in the outcome were reduced when vision was available. Spatial errors were greater during internal judgments compared with external judgments particularly when vision was not available and when making judgments about task-relevant factors. A focus on irrelevant factors generally did not affect performance compared with relevant factors. These findings suggest that availability of concurrent visual feedback modulates focus of attention effects in motor control.

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Mahin Aghdaei, Alireza Farsi, Maryam Khalaji, and Jared Porter

been defined as the amount of oxygen consumed ( V O ˙ 2 ) or heart rate level when running at a submaximal velocity ( Jones & Carter, 2000 ; Saunders et al., 2004 ). Interestingly, Masters and Ogles (1998 ) propose that using the equivalent of an internal or external focus of attention does not

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Christopher K. Rhea, Jed A. Diekfuss, Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, and Louisa D. Raisbeck

; McNevin, Wulf, & Carlson, 2000 ; Wulf, 2013 ). Wulf, Höß, and Prinz ( 1998 ) defined attentional focus as either internal or external. An internal focus of attention is directed at the performer’s own body or own movements, whereas an external focus is directed at the effects a particular movement has on

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Kevin A. Becker, Ayana F. Georges, and Christopher A. Aiken

solution often suggested for this problem is utilizing an attentional focus that reduces the likelihood of conscious control. Over the last 20 years, most research in this area has studied the benefit of an external focus compared to an internal focus of attention. An internal focus of attention is

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Antje Hill, Linda Schücker, Norbert Hagemann, and Bernd Strauß

Attentional Focusing in Endurance Sports The direction of attentional focus is an essential determinant of performance among different kinds of sports (e.g., Wulf, 2013 ). In endurance sports, an external focus of attention can be defined as directing attention toward the environment. An internal

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Cheryl Coker

This study examined the effect of individually tailoring an external focus reference point in line with ability on standing long jump (SLJ) performance. Twenty-one female Division III hockey players (ages 18–23 years) performed two SLJs under 4 attentional focus conditions: (a) no focus provided (control), (b) focused on rapid knee extension (internal); (c) focused on jumping as close as possible to a cone placed at 3 m (external far), and (d) focused on jumping as far as possible past a cone placed, unbeknownst to them, at the maximum distance achieved on their last SLJ test, recorded during team testing at an earlier date (attainable). Findings were consistent with the literataure in that instructions that induced an external versus internal focus of attention resulted in significantly longer jumping distances. In addition, horizontal displacement was significantly longer when participants adopted an external focus of attention toward an attainable distance goal versus all other conditions. Results suggest that for goal-oriented movements that require maximum effort, individualizing the distance of an external focus of attention according to capability enhances its effect.

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Jed A. Diekfuss and Louisa D. Raisbeck

An external focus of attention, as opposed to an internal focus of attention, has been shown to increase performance and enhance learning. However, little research has examined whether these findings have been integrated into collegiate coaching and adopted by student-athlete performers. The purpose of this study was to examine the verbal instructions and instructional feedback provided by NCAA division 1 collegiate coaches during practice and how it influenced student-athletes’ focus of attention during competition. Thirty-one student-athletes completed a questionnaire that inquired about coaches’ verbal instructions and instructional feedback during practice and student-athletes’ focus of attention during competition. Fifty percent of participants reported that their coaches instructed them to focus their attention internally and only four participants reported that their coaches instructed them to focus externally. Our results also showed that coaches provided an equal amount of internal and external instructional feedback. During competition, however, the majority of participants reported statements that fell under the category of “winning and strategy.” These results suggest that the beneficial effects of an external focus of attention have not been integrated into NCAA division 1 collegiate coaching and the focus of attention adopted by student-athletes may be more complex than what is studied in laboratory research.

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Jared Porter, Hubert Makaruk, and Marcin Starzak

According to the constrained action hypothesis, an external focus of attention is beneficial for motor learning due to improvements in movement automization. In contrast, an internal focus of attention interferes with automaticity and decreases the effects of motor learning. This study was designed to test the automaticity assumption of the focus of attention effect within a highly skilled population. We examined the effects of attentional focus on kinematics in rope jumping and visual control. Participants practiced the rope-jumping task over five days of acquisition, which was followed by a retention and transfer test. The findings provided evidence that the learning of the task was improved and automaticity was increased by the external focus compared with the internal focus and no attentional (i.e., control condition) conditions. In addition, these findings indicate that visual attention as a function of attentional focus has a stronger relationship with practice performance rather than with motor learning effects.

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Philipp Bennet Philippen and Babett H. Lobinger

The yips in golf is the interruption of a smooth putting movement by an involuntary jerk or freezing of the arm. Psychological factors seem to worsen the phenomenon. However, published data on how the yips in golf is cognitively and emotionally experienced are very limited. Moreover, the focus of attention in yips-affected golfers has not been investigated. Thus, we interviewed 17 yips-affected golfers to record the thoughts and feelings that are experienced in a situation in which the yips occurs. In addition, we asked them about their focus of attention right before putting. Content analysis revealed a negative cognitive and emotional pattern for all golfers. Furthermore, 11 participants reported focusing either internally or on possible mistakes. The results contribute to an understanding of the yips in golf and provide a starting point for further investigations into possible interventions for the yips.

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Alejandro Pérez-Castilla, F. Javier Rojas, John F.T. Fernandes, Federico Gómez-Martínez, and Amador García-Ramos

, & Pedley, 2019 ). Specifically, an external focus of attention (EF), where the participant directs their attention toward the effects of the movement on the environment, was superior or more effective than an NE or internal focus of attention (IF), i.e., where their attention is directed toward the body