Novice motor skill performance and task experience is influenced by attentional focusing instructions and instruction preferences

David C. Marchant, Peter J. Clough, Martin Crawshaw, Andrew Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


Novices threw darts during two sessions (one week apart) using either internal or external attentional focusing instructions. During session one, participants used internal instructions for half the throws and external instructions for the other half of the throws, whereas session two required the use of only one strategy for all throws. Accuracy during session one was not affected by attentional strategy, although a significant interaction indicated that accuracy is influenced when changing from one strategy to the other. After session one, significantly more participants reported a preference for the external instructions. During session two, the external strategy group was significantly more accurate than the internal group. Of those using the external strategy, participants indicating an internal strategy preference after practice were significantly less accurate than those who indicated a preference for the external strategy. Participants rated their preferred strategy as requiring less effort than the alternative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-502
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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