Enhancing motor learning of young soccer players through preventing an internal focus of attention: The effect of shoes colour

Andrea De Giorgio, Maha Sellami, Goran Kuvacic, Gavin Lawrence, Johnny Padulo, Marco Mingardi, Luigi Mainolfi, Jaime Sampaio
2018 PLoS ONE  
The purpose of this research was to assess how the motor learning skills in 7-years old soccer players can be improved by preventing an internal focus of attention via the use coloured shoes. We painted the classic black soccer shoes in six areas corresponding to six regions of the foot with which it is possible to interact with the ball. Thirty-four 7-years-old soccer players were randomized to two groups (Coloured n = 17 and Black, n = 17) to perform four basic football manoeuvres/tasks:
more » ... tion (RECP), passing (PASS), ball management (MAGT), and shooting (SHOT). We found highly significant differences (P<0.001) in all four performance tests: mean ( sd) RECP: 0.82(0.07) vs. 0.45(0.12); PASS: 0.85(0.07) vs. 0.47 (0.09); MAGT: 0.91(0.09); SHOT: 1.00(1.00) vs. 0.44(0.16). Colored shoes appear to draw children's attention away from body centered cues without explicit verbal communications. We propose that this cognitive adaptation enhanced the technical gesture by preventing the negative processes associated with action constraining when adopting an internal focus attention (perhaps by allowing the foot to adapt to surfaces and movements more naturally than conditions that promote a focus on the body movement). Consequently, this type of coloured footwear could be used during childhood to allow children to enhance the performance of basic football exercises through preventing action constraining and promoting intuitive (non-body centered) action knowledge.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0200689 pmid:30110332 fatcat:oddcwcumhve65ebdo7peiok5bi