THINKING ABOUT SKILL CAN CAUSE PERFORMANCE DECLINES
Bezak, J. (1974). Possibilities of applying methods of psychical load in sports. Acta Facultatis Educationis Physicae, 14, 88-89.
In non-fatigued states, when athletes consciously concentrated on parts of their activities (limb movements) their ability to resolve space orientation tasks was reduced: soccer players (N = 33) declined by 20-30%, 15 years-old sport pupils by 11-42%, and physical education students by an average of 48%. There was no pattern or differentiation between the groups with regard to the amount of performance reduction.
Implication. This study tested the specific condition of performing in a non-fatigued state and effects on space orientation. This is tantamount to assessing whether cognitive interference reduces performance. That is what happened. When not in fatigue, thinking about technique should cause some performance decline. That is paradoxical to what happens in fatigued states when thinking about technique actually improves performance.
In competition strategies there has to be a stage where technique concentration is avoided (when there is no fatigue), then a transition stage where it is introduced (fatigue accumulation), followed by a stage where it is emphasized (in fatigue).
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