Attentional focus in complex skill learning

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2000 Sep;71(3):229-39. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2000.10608903.


Experiment 1 examined whether it is more advantageous to direct learners' attention to the external effects of their movements relative to other external cues. Two groups of participants hit tennis balls at a target, with one group focusing on the ball coming toward them (antecedent) and the other group focusing on the ball leaving the racket (effect). The effect group demonstrated more effective learning. Experiment 2 examined whether it is more beneficial if the movement effect is related to the movement technique, relative to other movement effects (e.g., outcome). Two groups of participants hit golf balls at a target. The attention of these groups was directed to the club or the ball trajectory, respectively. The club group showed more effective learning than the target group, suggesting that focusing on technique-related effects is more effective.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Tennis*