L. Dimmel, M. Velasquez, G. Paxton, K. Vondran, W. M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Pre-performance routines (PPRs) have been recorded to improve athletic performance, specifically in closed-skill activities. Despite this research, data on the number of steps needed to create a successful PPR is limited. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between the number of steps in self-reported PPRs and the free-throw percentage of college basketball players. METHODS: The target population were Division III basketball players who competed in the 2020-2021 basketball season. Players from both men’s and women’s teams from a local university were recruited for participation and only participants who shot free-throws were allowed to participate. Ultimately, 22 athletes participated in the study. Qualtrics survey software was used for data collection. Participants were asked to describe their PPR in detail, how long they had played basketball as a team sport, and how consistently they performed their PPR. Available team statistics were utilized to determine free-throw percentage for each participant. A Pearson product-moment correlation test (p ≤ 0.05) was used to find the relationship between the number of steps in a PPR and free-throw percentage. RESULTS: There was a non-significant weak positive correlation (r = 0.14, p = 0.53) between the numbers of steps (6.45 ± 1.44) in a PPR and free-throw percentage (62.40% ± 19.02%). CONCLUSION: Under these research conditions, the number of steps in a PPR did not appear to be related to free-throw percentage in a meaningful way. The primary explanation for the observed results may have been that the total number of steps was not as influential as the consistency of the PPR performance. Further analysis indicated that experience and perceived difficulty of the task may have been just as influential on performance. Future research could be conducted to study the length of the steps in a PPR with more skilled athletes. Additionally, a larger sample size of participants, who shot more free-throws, might yield a greater statistical power and improved representativeness of the findings.

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