Can we hasten expertise by video simulations? Considerations from an ecological psychology perspective

Matt Dicks *, John Van Der Kamp **/***, Rob Withagen **** and Johan Koedijker *****

(*) Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth, England
(**) MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, VU University, The Netherlands
(***) Institute of Human Performance, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
(****) Center for Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
(*****) Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern, Switzerland


Dicks, M., Van Der Kamp, J., Withagen, R., Koedijker, J. (2015). Can we hasten expertise by video simulations? Considerations from an ecological psychology perspective. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(6), 587-607. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.587


In their 1994 publication, Starkes and Lindley considered whether perceptual skill could be trained through the observation of video simulations of sport situations. We return to this topic 20 years later and provide a critical review of the subsequent research on perceptual learning in sport. We reflect on the implications from recent empirical evidence, which indicates that perceptual expertise in sport is best captured using experimental methods that allow participants to perceive and act (i.e., produce an interceptive action) against an opponent in real-time. Despite the pertinent implications that these findings have for the training of perceptual skill, until now, a review has not been forthcoming. Specifically, we consider the implications of an ecological approach to perceptual learning for training interventions in sport. We provide a critical review of current literature, before focussing on an ecological theory of learning as a framework for our perspective. We then overview two contemporary topics in ecological psychology - continuum of contact and between-participant variability in perception-action - before considering the implications of our perspective for future research.

Keywords: Action, Ecological psychology, Expertise, Perception, Perceptual learning