Application of Psychological Techniques for Attentional Focus in Endurance Task
Keywords:self-talk mechanisms, attentional focus, performance, cycling
The purpose of present study was to examine the effects of strategic self-talk on enhancing external attentional focus and endurance performance in a cycloergometer test. Participants were 45 undergraduate students with a mean age 20.09 (±1.24) years, who were randomly assigned into one control group and two experimental groups: (a) instructions for external focus of attention, and (b) instruction plus strategic self-talk for external focus of attention. The experimental procedures lasted five days: on day one a baseline cycling test was performed, on day two and three participants trained on the cycloergometer for 10 minutes, on day four participants rested, and finally on day five the final test took place where participants were asked to cycle on a given intensity till exhaustion. The results showed that (a) participants of the self-talk group scored higher on external focus than participants of the control group, and (b) participants of the self-talk group cycled for longer than participants of the control and the external focus instruction, whereas no differences were found between the control group and the external focus instruction group. Overall, the findings support the effectiveness of strategic self-talk for endurance performance, and identify the improvement of appropriate attentional focus as a potential mechanism explaining the effectiveness of self-talk.