Perception Intuition, It's All In The Mind

1086 words - 5 pages

INTUITIVE PLAY IN TEAM SPORTSIn scientific terminology, 'reading the play' refers to pattern recall or recognition. Watching a team sport like Rugby Union is a classic example of watching a continuously changing pattern. Interestingly, while the pattern may look meaningless to the untrained eye, that is fourteen players sprinting and dodging in all directions, to an expert player (or coach) it can all look completely logical and can inform them in advance as to where the ball is about to be passed. This is quite a handy skill to have if your job requires you to intercept as many opposition passes as possible - just ask Brian Habana.What has chequers got to do with team sports?Pattern recall ...view middle of the document...

Pattern recall research in sport can be illustrated in Rugby Union, where the recall ability of the British team through to U17 talent identification squad members has been examined.Presented with video footage of Rugby Union game situations, the players had approximately ten seconds to view a piece of play before the video was stopped. They were then required to recall the attacking and defensive structures of the two teams by plotting, on a blank diagram of a Rugby Union court, the location of each player as they had last seen them in the video clip. On average, the British players were able to recall accurately the location of 72% of all players. In comparison, British Institute of Sport players recalled 62%, while the U19 and U17 squads recalled approximately 57%. Such results illustrate the contribution of reading the play to the make-up of our elite team-sport players.So how can it be trained?Researchers have interviewed some of sport's great decision makers, consistently finding that they engaged in extensive team-based game play as children, be it in their back yards or with others at the local park (for example, two-on-two street basketball). They also played a variety of team sports before specialising in the sport that they made their profession. For example, expert NFL (NORTH AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE) decision-makers tend to have played significant amounts of basketball in addition to football. It has been reasoned that by playing similar 'invasion' sports, they were constantly learning to read patterns based around the fundamental team-sport concept of creating time and space.Obviously, the more games you play, the more likely you are to become accustomed to specific attacking and defensive strategies and to develop an understanding of where the ball will be passed. Whether a player then becomes a skilled decision-maker relates to whether his (or her) coach draws that player's attention to such details. Coaches, who provide their players with game-based training opportunities...

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