Hastening the acquisition of perceptual skill in volleyball players

Jorg Schorer */**, Rebecca Rienhoff **, Lennart Fischer **, Ilka Overbeck **, Christel Weiss *** and Joseph Baker ****

(*) Institute for Sport Science, University of Oldenburg, Germany
(**) Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Muenster, Germany
(***) Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany
(****) School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Canada


Schorer, J., Rienhoff, R., Fischer, L., Overbeck, I., Weiss, C., Baker, J. (2015). Hastening the acquisition of perceptual skill in volleyball players. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(6), 608-629. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.608


In 1994, Starkes and Lindley considered whether perceptual-cognitive expertise could be facilitated through video intervention. In this study we describe three experiments examining this issue in volleyball where we first identify expertise differences and then create training interventions to facilitate the acquisition of these capabilities. In Experiment 1, we used a spatial occlusion paradigm to examine the contributions of varying fields of vision for different expertise levels in predicting attacks in volleyball. Different skill levels used different sources of information for anticipation. In Experiment 2, a full vision training study was pilot-tested and in Experiment 3 vision-specific training (i.e., only setter or only attackers) was used to investigate how expertise develops. Although there were positive-training effects in these experiments, the results emphasize the complexity of acquiring anticipation skill. These findings provide preliminary data regarding the interaction between different sources of visual information in expert anticipation in time constrained sports, although more work is necessary to confirm the validity of these results (e.g., transfer to real-world settings).

Keywords: Anticipation Temporal Occlusion, Spatial Occlusion, Skill, Sport