Schlagwort-Archive: external focus

Experience meets theory

The „external focus“ is essential in a modern and evidence-based skill learning. There are many posts in this blog about this subject.

This morning I was sitting at the breakfast in a hotel in Leipzig.  I listened to the instructions of a mother to her perhaps eight years old son. He carried an up to the edge filled glass of orange juice from the breakfast bar to his seat. Trying not to spill the juice, he went always more slowly.

His mothers advice was: „Watch the glass“. What happened was, that hand and glass were wobbling more and more. This was something I remembered from a short phase of working in a restaurant (a long time ago 😉 )and bringing full trays to the guests.

Focused on my body, on my hand, my arms and the full tray (internal focus) I made it wobble more and more. What I learned from this was, that it is better to choose an „external focus“ like the next table or a picture at the wall. This worked not always, but significantly more often.

Years later, in my research for coaching sports skills, and after reading Gabriele Wulfs studies about the external focus I understood.

So experience meets theory and theory meets practice.

Learning of tennis skills and external focus

Don’t talk, let walk

“Let the drill do the talking and the athlete do the walking”

In this article Nick Winkelman is talking about science of coaching and using new scientific knowledge in developing skills in sports. He gives an overview about constraints led coaching, the advantage of external focus, differencial learning and optimizing the transfer from pratice to the game. As we already know 😉 this implicits a new communication between player and coach.

Winkelmann is the head of athletic performance & science for the Irish Rugby Football Union. Prior to working for Irish Rugby, Nick was the director of education for EXOS (formerly Athletes’ Performance), located in Phoenix, AZ. As a performance coach, Nick oversaw the speed and assessment component of the EXOS NFL Combine Development Program. Nick has also supported many athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA, National Sport Organizations and Military. Nick is an internationally recognized speaker on human performance and coaching science, and has multiple publications through the UKSCA, NSCA and IDEA Health and Fitness.


Serving and controlling ball throw

 Bild in Originalgröße anzeigen A player has problems with the ballthrow. She always has one ball in her hand, and the second ball is in the pants/skirts pocket.

The idea of the coach is, that too many joints are used throwing the ball: fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder. That makes the control of the ball throw more difficult. Under an internal focus, the player observes, according to the coach’s instructions, to let the arm stretched. However, in several studies on external focus and implicit learning, the authors conclude that an external focus is more helpful and implicit learning is more effective and sustainable. Serving and controlling ball throw weiterlesen

Targets III

Noch ein Drill zum „Training exekutiver Funktionen“ und mit „externem Fokus“ (Spiel auf Ziele). Prima kombinierbar mit Drills aus dem Differentiellen Lernen und deshalb ein typischer „Inner Coaching (TMS)-Drill“! Leider nur mit zwei Spieler_innen auf einem Spielfeld durchführbar.

Another Drill to train „executive functions“ and with „external focus“ (targets). Drill can be combined with drills from differential learning and so it is a typical INNER COACHING (TMS) – Drill. Unfortunately only for two players.


Learning of tennis skills and external focus

Ricardo Hadler, Suzete Chiviacowsky,  Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil

Gabriele Wulf, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA

José Francisco Gomes Schild, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil
Abstract: The present study examined the effects of instructions promoting external versus internal foci of attention on the learning of a tennis forehand stroke in 11-year old children. Three groups of  participants practiced hitting tennis balls at a target. External focus group participants were instructed to direct their attention to the  movement of the racquet, while participants in the internal focus group were asked to direct their attention to the movements of their  arm. Participants in a control group did not receive attentional focus instructions. Two days after the practice phase (60 trials), learning was assessed in retention and transfer tests.
The results showed that the external focus group demonstrated greater accuracyin hitting a target relative to the two other groups  in retention, and relative to the internal focus group in transfer. We conclude that instructions inducing an external focus of attention can enhance children’s sport skill learning.

„Children’s learning of tennis skills is facilitated by external focus instructions“

by Ricardo Hadler, Suzete Chiviacowsky, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil; Gabriele Wulf, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA; José Francisco Gomes Schild, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil

„Targets“ – new drill

Here is a new variation of the Inner Coaching Drill „Targets„:

Target_2Set different coloured marks on the courtside of player B. The blue one in the deuce-court, the yellow one in the add-court, in the near of the baseline. Mark a line on the other courtside, one big step from the baseline, so that you have a targetfield between baseline and the marked line.

Player B has to play the ball into the targetfield. Player A plays his ball in the near of the announced coloured targets.

The coach announces where A „Targets“ – new drill weiterlesen


faceball (578x640)Ein weiterer Inner Coaching Drill für Beginner und Pros mit externem Fokus (Ball) und der „Konzentration auf das Wesentliche“: Malen Sie auf einen Tennisball einen fröhlichen Smiley. Die Trainingspartner_innen spielen Ballwechsel von der T-Linie. Aufgabe: „Beobachtet den Ball, wenn er auf Euch zu, bzw. wegfliegt. Könnt Ihr dabei das Gesicht erkennen?“

Another Inner Coaching drill for beginners and pros with external focus and concentration on the essentials„:  Paint a happy face on a tennis ball. Play rallies with your partner from the serviceline. Task: Watch the ball when it comes to you, or flies away Can you see the face?“