1st Edition

The Psychology of Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks in Sports

Edited By Ronnie Lidor, Gal Ziv Copyright 2022
    218 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In practice settings, competitions, and games, athletes are often required to perform an arsenal of motor tasks in dynamic and challenged sporting environments, where they have to respond without having enough time to prepare themselves for the act. However, in many sport activities athletes also perform closed self-paced motor tasks – tasks that take place in a relatively stable and predictable environment, where there is adequate time to prepare for their execution. Among these tasks are free-throw shots in basketball, putting in golf, serving in tennis, and bowling.

    In these tasks, performers are able to plan their actions in advance. They can activate a plan, a strategy, a protocol, or a procedure – what we term a ritual behavior. Effective rituals are usually achieved with a high degree of consistency. That is, either deliberately or subconsciously they become an integral part of the act itself. The Psychology of Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks in Sports explores those plans, procedures, protocols, strategies, and techniques that aim at facilitating the performance and learning of closed self-paced motor tasks. Included in the instructional-psychological routines discussed in this book are pre-performance routines, focusing attention, motor imagery, enhanced expectancies, autonomy support, gaze strategies, self-talk, and periodization.

    The routines discussed in the book are evidence-based. Based on updated reviews of laboratory and field inquiries on the discussed instructional-psychological routines, practical implications are given for those professionals who teach closed self-paced motor tasks, including coaches, instructors, and sport psychology consultants.

    1. Ritual Behaviors in Closed Self-Paced Motor Task

    Ronnie Lidor

    2. The Neural Correlates of Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Oron Levin and Werner F. Helsen

    3. Functional Variability Enhances Performance in Self-paced Tasks: An Ecological Dynamics Approach

    Duarte Araújo, Carl Woods, Chris McCosker, João Carvalho, Ian Renshaw, and Keith Davids

    4. Quiet Eye, Performance, and Learning of Closed Self-Paced Aiming Tasks

    Gal Ziv and Ronnie Lidor

    5. Focusing Attention in Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    John Toner

    6. Enhanced Expectancies in Learning Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Gal Ziv

    7. Autonomy Support in Motor Performance and Learning

    Suzete Chiviacowsky

    8. The Use of Motor Imagery in Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Michael Spittle, Riki Lindsay, and Tony Morris

    9. The Use of Self-Talk in Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Takehiro Iwatsuki and Judy L. Van Raalte

    10. Modifying Technique in Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Joseph Vecchione, Catherine Madill, and Nicola Hodges

    11. Teaching Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks in Virtual Reality

    Cornelia Frank and Thomas Schack

    12. Performance under Pressure in Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Christopher Mesagno

    13. Combining Periodization and Sport Psychology to Optimize Performance of Closed Self-Paced Motor Tasks

    Iris Orbach and Boris Blumenstein

    14. Instructional and Psychological Observations and Future Reflections

    Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv


    Ronnie Lidor is a Professor of motor behavior and is the Director of the Academic College at Wingate, Israel. His main areas of research are cognitive/learning strategies, talent detection and early development in sport, and sport for development.

    Gal Ziv, PhD is the Head of the Motor Behavior Laboratory at The Academic College at Wingate (Israel). He conducts research on perceptual-cognitive skills and expert performance and learning.

    "Pre-performance routines are one of the most noticeable features of sport. To the observer, they seem slightly obsessive, sometimes quirky, and largely incidental to success. To researchers and practitioners, they offer a window into the psychology of performance. This book brings together an excellent group of researchers from around the world to share their insights and offer practical advice for enhancing performance"

      -Robin Jackson, Loughborough University