Neisser, U. (1980). Dividing attention without alternation or automaticity. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 109, 98-117.

It was found that the ability to divide attention between activities depends on the skill level of the individual. The more highly learned the skill, the less attention is needed to perform. Similarly, skills in the early stages of learning need much more attention.

The perception of physical skill complexity alters with experience. This has implications for attempts to perform various skills. Arousal should be low with a beginner because the task is viewed as being complex but, the arousal level can be higher with the experienced athlete because the skill is viewed as being relatively simple.

Implication. A coach should change demands on athletes for performance and effort to be put into performance as the athletes improve in competence and experience.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.