Decision-making in sport




Perception – action coupling and decisionmaking in sport

G. Paterson

prof.dr. G.J.P. Savelsbergh, dr. G.J. van der Kamp

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

Movement Sciences

PhD conferral

Decision making profiles differ when players respond with verbal or simplified movement responses compared to when actually having to perform a real free-kick in soccer for example. These results are key for researchers and training specialists to understand how to structure research and training protocols in the future. These are the results of the PhD research by Gareth Paterson.

Testing and training implications
The results have testing and training implications for decision making in sport. It is essential to test and train these skills in environments that are as similar to the real competitive situation as possible. Specifically, that participants should respond to stimuli with movements that resemble that of the real world environment. Paterson: “By studying and training decision making in situations in which full movement responses are not required may result in the missing of key information that allows us to fully understand the decision making process.”

Skilled and non-skilled players
Decision making in sport is an important differentiator between skilled and non-skilled players. it is therefore essential to fully understand decision-making processes in athletes so that we are able to test and train this important perceptual-cognitive skill properly. There has been research suggesting that in externally paced, interceptive tasks like saving a penalty in soccer, it is essential to make sure participants are tested and trained in conditions that are as similar to the competitive situation as possible. More specifically, to make sure that the participant responds in conditions in which a fully interactive movement response is required (i.e., she actually has to save the ball) as differing results are found under these differing conditions.

More information about the thesis