Cognitive and conative underpinnings of sport expertise

Cocic, Dijana (2022) Cognitive and conative underpinnings of sport expertise. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
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The study of expertise helps us not only understand outstanding expert feats, but also processes and mechanisms leading to and underlying expert performance. In this thesis topic of expertise is approached through multiple perspectives, utilizing both experimental and correlational designs. In order to provide more precise, sensitive and robust data analyses, multilevel, structural equation and Bayesian modelling has been used throughout all of the studies conducted for this thesis. In Study 1 (Chapter 2) the importance of kinetic, domain-specific knowledge, for experts ability of anticipation has been demonstrated by comparing anticipatory ability of expert (N=10) versus non-expert handball goalkeepers (N=10). This study emphasizes necessity of utilization of movement analysis for choosing parts of movement sequences relevant for anticipation; as well as necessity of combining outcome measures (accuracy and reaction time) for deepening our interpretation and understanding of underpinning cognitive processes. In addition to that, two studies (Studies 2 and 3 in Chapters 3 and 4, respectively) underline the role conative factors play in expert performance, practice and development of expertise. Analyses conducted on performance, practice and grit data (Study 2, Chapter 3), collected on a sample of elite youth Australian soccer athletes (N=388), showed that grit has a sizeable positive influence on performance (β=.44), and its influence is both direct and indirect (through practice). Furthermore, in Study 3 (Chapter 4) grit has been shown to influence acquisition of practice during early development, differentiating among the players of different skill and leading to snowballing effects of the amount of accumulated practice hours. Finally, in Study 4 (Chapter 5), an analysis was conducted of real-life performance data of NBA players (N=400), and age-related changes in the performance, over the span of players’ careers, showing that greater pre-peak increase (up to the age of 27) in performance was followed by shallower and slower post-peak decline, regardless of the position players’ played. These findings not only help better understanding of expert performance, its development and retainment throughout lifespan, but also have the potential to extend beyond the laboratory by adding to the creation of training regimes and talent identification/development programs.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: anticipation, grit and practice in sport, aging, SEM mediation, Bayesian modelling
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2023 13:20
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2023 13:30

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