Differential effects of task-specific practice on performance in a simulated penalty kick under high-pressure

Martina Navarro, Nelson Miyamoto, John van der Kamp, Edgard Morya, Geert J. P. Savelsbergh, Ronald Ranvaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives - The current study investigated to what extent task-specific practice can help reduce the adverse effects of high-pressure on performance in a simulated penalty kick task. Based on the assumption that practice attenuates the required attentional resources, it was hypothesized that task-specific practice would enhance resilience against high-pressure.

Method - Participants practised a simulated penalty kick in which they had to move a lever to the side opposite to the goalkeeper's dive. The goalkeeper moved at different times before ball-contact.

Design - Before and after task-specific practice, participants were tested on the same task both under low- and high-pressure conditions.

Results - Before practice, performance of all participants worsened under high-pressure; however, whereas one group of participants merely required more time to correctly respond to the goalkeeper movement and showed a typical logistic relation between the percentage of correct responses and the time available to respond, a second group of participants showed a linear relationship between the percentage of correct responses and the time available to respond. This implies that they tended to make systematic errors for the shortest times available. Practice eliminated the debilitating effects of high-pressure in the former group, whereas in the latter group high-pressure continued to negatively affect performance.

Conclusions - Task-specific practice increased resilience to high-pressure. However, the effect was a function of how participants responded initially to high-pressure, that is, prior to practice. The results are discussed within the framework of attentional control theory (ACT).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-621
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Volume14
Issue number5
Early online date14 Mar 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • penalty kick
  • attentional control theory
  • point of no return
  • high-pressure
  • timing
  • individual differences

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