Theses Doctoral

The Effects of Attentional Focus on Novice and Expert Dynamic Indoor Rowing Performance

Parker, Nich Lee

Background. Motor skill learning and performance are optimized when individuals direct their attention externally towards the desired effect. Improvements include increased force production and improved coordination, determinants that also significantly influence rowing performance. However, no consensus surrounding an “ideal” rowing technique and these determinants exists. Attentional focus cues may not only improve rowing performance, but also enhance understanding of factors affecting force production. Aims. Two studies evaluated the efficacy of attentional focus on 1) distance rowed by novice participants; 2) power and peak force generated by novice participants; 3) distance rowed by novice & expert participants 4) force production measures of power, peak force, peak force max, and joules, as well as force signature measures of stroke length, peak force position, mean to peak force ratio, and variability in novice and expert participants; 5) rowing outcomes while controlling for participant stature; and 6) coordination of the legs and trunk during dynamic indoor rowing. Methods. Thirty novice and nineteen experts completed three 45 second long trials on a dynamic indoor rower (RP3), with the goal of rowing as fast as possible between 24 and 26 strokes per minute. Prior to each trial, participants were given attentional focus cues: internal - “As you row, focus on pushing with your legs”; external - “As you row, focus on creating pressure on the handle”; and a baseline condition, where no cue was provided. All three cues were counter-balanced. Results. There were no effects of attentional focus on outcomes, with the exception of increased stroke length for expert participants while rowing with an external focus. Significant effects were found for gender, expertise, and stature. Variability distinguished novices from experts. Participants reported difficulty managing their ability to row as fast as possible, maintain a stroke rate of 24 to 26, and focus on the cue. Conclusion. As the first study to evaluate the efficacy of attentional focus on force production in rowing, results indicated limited support for an external focus of attention. Individual, task, and environmental factors may have influenced rowing outcomes. Further investigation evaluating attentional focus and rowing that accounts for these factors is suggested.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biobehavioral Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Quinn, Lori
Magill, Richard
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
July 30, 2020