Combining Attentional Focus Strategies: Effects and Adherence




Instructions, Skill acquisition, Individual differences


This study explored the influence of instructions that combine internal and external foci. Fifty-one subjects were randomly divided into 3 groups: internal only, external only, and a combined internal and external focus. The task was the overhand lacrosse throw for accuracy from a stationary position to a target located on a wall 6 m away. Following a 10-trial pretest, instructions were provided according to attentional focus group assignment and participants performed 8 blocks of 10 practice throws. Following a 2-day period of no practice, retention and transfer tests were performed. A significant Group × Block interaction was found, F (14, 336) = .57, indicating that the external focus group was more accurate than the combined focus group on the first and second practice blocks. This external focus benefit diminished in later trials and no significant differences for group were found for retention or transfer. Participants performed significantly better on the retention test than on the pretest. Subjects were also asked to estimate what percentage of the practice trials they actually focused on the instructions provided. Responses ranged from 10% to 95% (M = 64%), raising questions regarding how learners use instructional information.Subscribe to TPE