International Journal of Exercise Science 11(1): 1120-1135, 2018. Research over the past 15 years or so has shown that an external focus on the effects of one’s movements improves performance relative to an internal focus of attention on bodily actions. More recent research has attempted to discover how the focus of attention (FOA) influences underlying motor control processes by using kinematic and EMG measures. Research has shown that an external FOA reduces EMG activity and the co-contraction between agonist and antagonist muscle groups relative to an internal FOA. The primary goal of the current study was to determine how the FOA influences the acceleration pattern during dart throwing, providing a more complete kinematic description relative to earlier work. Twenty-four participants threw 24 darts in both an external focus condition, focusing on the flight of the dart, and an internal focus condition focusing on the elbow angle at dart release. Surface EMGs were recorded from the triceps and biceps muscles and acceleration was recorded in the X, Y, and Z axes. Accuracy was better with an external focus relative to an internal focus. There was greater acceleration in the Y and Z axes in the second half of the movement in the external focus condition relative to the internal focus condition. An external focus generated less co-contraction between muscle groups compared to the internal focus condition. Overall, the results showed that an internal FOA reduces movement efficiency relative to an external FOA.
Hitchcock, Dakota R. and Sherwood, David E.
"Effects of Changing the Focus of Attention on Accuracy, Acceleration, and Electromyography in Dart Throwing,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 11
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol11/iss1/15