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Adaptations in Visual Search Behaviour as a Function of Expertise in Rugby Union Players Completing Attacking Scenarios

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posted on 2023-07-26, 15:46 authored by Kjell N. van Paridon, J. Lally, Paul J. Robertson, Itay Basevitch, Matthew A. Timmis
The current study investigated the adaptations which occur in visual search behaviour as a function of expertise in rugby union players when completing attacking scenarios. Ten experienced players (EP) and ten novice players (NP) completed 2 vs. 1 attacking game scenarios. Starting with the ball in hand and wearing a mobile eye tracker throughout, participants were required to score a try against a defender. The scenarios allowed for a pass to their supporting player (Spin Pass or Switch) or trying to run past the defender (Take-Player-On or Dummy Switch). No between group differences were found in fixating on the supporting attacking player (p > 0.05). However, EP increased the length (p = 0.008) and frequency (p = 0.004) looking at the area immediately ahead of the supporting player, particularly when executing a spin pass. NP fixated longer (p = 0.005) and more frequently (p = 0.032) at the defender, whilst EP fixated more frequently in the space the supporting player would run into in Switch and Dummy Switch scenarios (p = 0.025). More successful passes were completed and tries scored by EP compared to NP (p = 0.001). Differences in visual search behaviour between experienced and NP suggest that the experts extract information from areas directly related to guiding the motor action; the space immediately ahead of the support player to pass the ball in. Contrastingly, novices use a more allocentric perspective where the actions from the defender are used to guide their motor actions.



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Frontiers in Psychology




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