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External focus of attention enhances arm velocities during volleyball spike in young female players

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Javad SarvestanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different volleyball-specific attentional focus instructions on arm velocities of a volleyball spike in young female volleyball players using the Statistical Parametric Mapping method. Twelve young female volleyball players (13.6 ± 0.6 years old, 1.8 ± 0.8 years of experience in volleyball training) were asked to perform a volleyball spike in a standing position in three different attentional focus conditions including internal focus (IF, i.e., pull back your elbow prior to transfer momentum), external focus, (EF, i.e., imagine cracking a whip to transfer momentum), and control (CON, i.e., no-focus instruction). A Qualisys 3D motion capture-system was used to track reflective markers attached to the arm, forearm, and hand. Consequently, four phases of the volleyball spike including wind-up, cocking, acceleration, and follow-through were analyzed. A one-way repeated-measure ANOVA using one-dimensional statistical parametric mapping (SPM1d) showed that players achieved greater velocities in the hand (p < 0.01), forearm (p < 0.01), and arm (p < 0.01) using the EF instructions from the start of the wind-up phase to the acceleration phase. Post-hoc (SPM1d-t-tests-paired) analyses indicated significantly greater arm, forearm, and hand velocities during the EF condition, compared to CON (p < 0.01, p < 0.01, and p < 0.01 respectively) and IF (p < 0.01, p < 0.01, and p < 0.01 respectively) conditions. These findings suggest that EF instructions had an immediate impact on increasing volleyball spike velocity from the start of the wind-up phase to the acceleration phase prior to ball contact.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Slovak L, Sarvestan J, Iwatsuki T, Zahradnik D, Land W, Adollahipour R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Psychology

Year: 2023

Volume: 13

Online publication date: 05/01/2023

Acceptance date: 02/12/2022

Date deposited: 26/01/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1664-1078

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1041871


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