Do I focus on the process of cycling or try to put my mind elsewhere? A comparison of concentration strategies for use in pacing by novice riders
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Abstract© 2018 Elsevier B.V. The ability to hold a pace is a key skill for endurance athletes. The present study compared the influence of different strategies on how athletes learn to pace at 80% of their maximum performance for a 3-min cycle time trial. Participants first completed three maximal 3-min tests to establish maximal performance. During subsequent visits we asked participants to ride at 80% of their average maximal 3-min power output for four 3-min efforts under different conditions. Participants were blinded to feedback for three of the four conditions with participants (a) riding on feel (all feedback blinded), (b) associating on the task by focusing attention on the skills needed for efficient cycling, and (c) dissociating from the task by intentionally focusing concentration elsewhere (d) and finally, participants rode with full feedback where pace could be regulated via observation. All participants completed the blind condition first, the full feedback condition last, with association focus and dissociation focus rides being alternated. As expected, results showed participants rode close to the 80% goal when observing full feedback. Participants rode at 82% of maximum in the blind “ride on feel” condition, 79% in the associative condition, and 70% in the dissociative condition. We suggest results show that simple strategies related to concentration can influence the accuracy of pacing efforts. The difference in the ability to pace while using an associative or dissociative attentional focus was consistent with theory. The differences we observed occurred with minimal input from participants in terms of actively learning psychological skills. Future research is needed to investigate how athletes learn to use pacing strategies to help performance.
CitationRobinson, D. T., Cloak, R., lahart, I. M. and lane, A. M. (2018) Do I focus on the process of cycling or try to put my mind elsewhere? A comparison of concentration strategies for use in pacing by novice riders, Progress in Brain Research, 240 (2018), pp. 127-140.
JournalProgress in Brain Research
Series/Report no.Sport and the Brain: The Science of Preparing, Enduring and Winning, Part C
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