Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Sport Studies

Major Professor

Jeffrey T. Fairbrother

Committee Members

Craig A. Wrisberg, Clare E. Milner

Abstract

Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Römer (1993) suggested that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is needed to attain expertise. Consequently, it would be expected that expert soccer players who possess a high level of proficiency in intercepting a ball with their feet would demonstrate superior anticipation timing performance with the feet compared to novices who lack training. On the other hand, Keele, Ivry, and Porkorny (1987), and Studenka and Zelaznik (2008) provided support for a centrally controlled process for timed movements. If true, it would be expected that experts’ anticipation timing performance would be superior to novices’ regardless of the effector used.

The purpose of this study was to examine the anticipation timing performance of expert soccer players with that of novices using the preferred and non-preferred feet and hands. Participants were required to perform a simple movement task replicating the reception of a pass in soccer by intercepting the apparent motion of a series of lights on a Bassin anticipation timer using the preferred and non-preferred hands and feet. Participants completed 60 trials total at three different velocities (4-mph, 5-mph, & 6- mph). Dependent variables were constant error (CE) and variable error (VE).

For CE a Group x Limb interaction (p = .022) revealed that experts were more accurate in the foot condition than the novices. This interaction also revealed that experts performed similarly in both the foot and the hand conditions suggesting that experts were able to increase the accuracy of performance with the feet to more closely match that of the hands due to the effects of deliberate practice. For VE a Main Effect for Group (p = .002) revealed that Experts were less variable in anticipation timing performance than novices. This supports the notion of a central timing mechanism for variability. Results suggest that variability in anticipation timing performance is influenced by a common central timing process, while accuracy is dependent upon effector specific training.

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