Thought processes during set shot goalkicking in Australian Rules football: An analysis of youth and semi-professional footballers using Think Aloud

Sam Elliott, Amy Whitehead, Terry Magias

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    At present, there has been little attention given to exploring the cognitive processes of athletes in Australian Rules football during self-paced tasks such as the set shot goal kick attempt. Therefore, this study used a Think Aloud (TA) protocol analysis to explore the cognitions of Junior and Adult footballers undertaking the performance of a set shot goal kicking attempt in naturalistic conditions. This involved 64 male Australian Rules footballers, comprising 37 elite-level senior (adult) players (M age = 23.3 years) and 27 elite-level junior (M age = 14.6 years) players. Player's verbalisations were recorded during each performance of the goal kicking task, transcribed verbatim, and deductively and inductively analysed. The analyses revealed that planning, gathering information and description of outcome were the main three verbalised themes overall among junior and adult footballers. The analyses also indicated that as task difficulty increases, athlete cognitions relating to self-doubt increases and pre-performance routines decreases. In contrast to Adults, our results indicate that Junior footballers gather more information when undertaking close range set shot goal kicking attempts and also verbalise more diagnostic outcomes and comments relating to self-doubt when undertaking long range set shot goal kicking attempts. Adult footballers were also found to verbalise more reactive comments across all kick distances and verbalise more thoughts relating to mental readiness and pre-performance routine from close range compared long range distances. These findings have implications for the acquisition of skill in sport and draw on key perspectives from Dynamic Systems Theory to advance understanding of the cognitive processes underpinning set shot goal kicking performance in Australian Rules football.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101659
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
    Volume48
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2020

    Keywords

    • Australian football
    • Expertise
    • Goal kicking
    • Performance
    • Think aloud

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