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Optimising the Performance of Cyclists under Pressure: Attentional Focus and its Role in Performance

By Erin Appleton


The execution of skilled performance under the pressure of competition is the ultimate challenge of sports performers. The attentional focus adopted when performing under pressure can be a key factor in success. Additionally, the skill level of the athlete may be a mediating factor in the optimal focus of attention. Research on skill acquisition suggests that elite athletes are likely to be operating at an automatic level of execution, whereas novice athletes are more likely to require cognitive resources during performance. Previous research in endurance sports has indicated that athletes will benefit during competition from an association focus, although this may be a combination of internal and external cues. Cycling is one endurance sport that has received considerable attention from research disciplines such as physiology and biomechanics, but very little in the way of psychology. Just like other sports, the focus of attention that cyclists adopt when riding may have a significant impact on their performance. This thesis therefore aimed to investigate the optimal focus of attention of cyclists of all abilities, and particularly for elite athletes under the pressure of competition.Thesis (PhD Doctorate)Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)School of Education and Professional StudiesArts, Education and LawFull Tex

Topics: Competitive cycling, Athletic performance, Attentional Focus
Publisher: Griffith University
Year: 2010
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