Tapping the full potential? Jumping performance of volleyball athletes in game-like situations

  • Background: One key issue in elite interactive team sports is the simultaneous execution of motor actions (e.g., dribbling a ball) and perceptual-cognitive tasks (e.g., visually scanning the environment for action choices). In volleyball, one typical situation is to prepare and execute maximal block jumps after multiple-options decision-making and concurrent visual tracking of the ongoing game dynamics to find an optimal blocking location. Based on resource-related dual- and multi-tasking theories simultaneous execution of visual-cognitive and motor tasks may interfere with each other. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether volleyball-specific perceptual-cognitive demands (i.e., divided attention, decision making) affect blocking performance (i.e., jumping performance and length of the first step after the ready-block-position) compared to relatively isolated jumping performance. Methods: Twenty-two elite volleyball players (1st – 3rd German league) performed block jumps in front of a net construction in a single-task condition (ST) and in two perceptual (-cognitive) dual-task conditions including a dual-task low (DT_L; presenting a picture of an opponent attack on a screen) and a dual-task high condition (DT_H; presenting videos of an offensive volleyball set play with a two-alternative choice). Results: The results of repeated-measures ANOVAs showed a significant effect of conditions on jumping performance [F(2,42) = 33.64, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.62] and on the length of the first step after the ready-block-position [F(2,42) = 7.90, p = 0.001, ηp2 = 0.27). Post hoc comparisons showed that jumping performance in DT_H (p < 0.001) and DT_L (p < 0.001) was significantly lower than in ST. Also, length of the first step after the ready-block-position in DT_H (p = 0.005) and DT_L (p = 0.028) was significantly shorter than in ST. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that blocking performance (i.e., jumping height, length of the first step) decreases in elite volleyball players when a perceptual (-cognitive) load is added. Based on the theory of Wickens (2002), this suggests a resource overlap between visual-processing demands for motor performance and for tracking the dynamics of the game. Interference with the consequence of dual-task related performance costs can therefore also be found in elite athletes in their specific motor expert domain.

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Author:Marie-Therese Fleddermann, Karen ZentgrafGND
Pubmed Id:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30131739
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Pierre-Paul Vidal
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/08/07
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/11/01
Tag:block jumping; cognitive-motor interference; dual-task; elite sports; perceptual-cognitive expertise; volleyball
Issue:Art. 1375
Page Number:8
First Page:1
Last Page:8
Copyright © 2018 Fleddermann and Zentgraf. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 79 Sport, Spiele, Unterhaltung / 790 Freizeitgestaltung, darstellende Künste, Sport
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0