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Review

Effect of Attentional Focus on Sprint Performance: A Meta-Analysis

1
School of Psychology, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China
2
Institute of Exercise Training and Sport Informatics, German Sport University Cologne, 50933 Cologne, Germany
3
China Football College, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Selenia di Fronso and Dagmara Budnik-Przybylska
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6254; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106254
Received: 10 March 2022 / Revised: 16 May 2022 / Accepted: 17 May 2022 / Published: 20 May 2022
Sprinting is often seen in a variety of sports. Focusing one’s attention externally before sprinting has been demonstrated to boost sprint performance. The present study aimed to systematically review previous findings on the impact of external focus (EF), in comparison to internal focus (IF), on sprint performance. A literature search was conducted in five electronic databases (APA PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science). A random-effects model was used to pool Hedge’s g with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The meta-analysis included six studies with a total of 10 effect sizes and 166 participants. In general, the EF condition outperformed the IF condition in sprint performance (g = 0.279, 95% CI [0.088, 0.470], p = 0.004). The subgroup analysis, which should be viewed with caution, suggested that the benefits associated with the EF strategy were significant in low-skill sprinters (g = 0.337, 95% CI [0.032, 0.642], p = 0.030) but not significant in high-skill sprinters (g = 0.246, 95% CI [−0.042, 0.533], p = 0.094), although no significant difference was seen between these subgroups (p = 0.670). The reported gain in sprint performance due to attentional focus has practical implications for coaches and athletes, as making tiny adjustments in verbal instructions can lead to significant behavioral effects of great importance in competitive sports. View Full-Text
Keywords: external focus; internal focus; sprint performance; meta-analysis; qualitative interaction external focus; internal focus; sprint performance; meta-analysis; qualitative interaction
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, D.; Zhang, L.; Yue, X.; Memmert, D.; Zhang, Y. Effect of Attentional Focus on Sprint Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 6254. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106254

AMA Style

Li D, Zhang L, Yue X, Memmert D, Zhang Y. Effect of Attentional Focus on Sprint Performance: A Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(10):6254. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106254

Chicago/Turabian Style

Li, Danyang, Liwei Zhang, Xin Yue, Daniel Memmert, and Yeqin Zhang. 2022. "Effect of Attentional Focus on Sprint Performance: A Meta-Analysis" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 10: 6254. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106254

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