Focus of attention and its impact on movement behaviour

J Sci Med Sport. 2011 Jan;14(1):70-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2010.07.002. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


Investigations into the relative effectiveness of either focusing on movement form (internal focus) or movement effects (external focus) have tended to dominate research on instructional constraints. However, rather than adopting a comparative approach to determine which focus of attention is more effective, analysis of the relative efficacy of each specific instruction focus during motor learning could be more relevant for both researchers and practitioners. Theoretical advances in the motor learning literature from a nonlinear dynamics perspective might explain the processes that underlie the effect of different attentional focus instructions. Referencing ideas and concepts from a current motor learning model, differential effects of either internal or external focus of instructions are examined. This paper also highlights some deficiencies in extant theory and research design on focus of attention which require further investigations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Sports / physiology
  • Sports / psychology