The effects of attentional focus on a sport-specific skill and efficacy beliefs



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Over the past 20 years, researchers have consistently found that difference in a learner’s attentional focus seems to influence learning and performance of motor skills, and most recently cognitive and affective outcomes, such as self-efficacy. Although external focus is often associated with superior performance acquisition, questions are emerging about types of external foci, and the conditions under which it might be most effective. This study examined the influence of attentional focus on learning and performance of a complex sport-specific skill and related efficacy beliefs. Findings from this research revealed differences in performance favoring participants in an external-distal focus treatment, but no difference in efficacy beliefs were found. These findings offer support for the constrained action hypothesis and highlight the advantages of adopting a distal external focus to achieve optimal motor skill performance in a complex, outcome-based sport-specific task.



Attentional focus, Motor skill learning, Self-efficacy, Tennis serve performance