Adaptive working memory training reduces the negative impact of anxiety on competitive motor performance
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
(C) 2017 Human Kinetics
Optimum levels of attentional control are essential to prevent athletes from experiencing performance breakdowns under pressure. The current study explored whether training attentional control using the adaptive dual n-back paradigm, designed to directly target processing efficiency of the main executive functions of working memory (WM), would result in transferrable effects on sports performance outcomes. A total of 30 tennis players were allocated to an adaptive WM training or active control group and underwent 10 days of training. Measures ofWMcapacity as well as performance and objective gaze indices of attentional control in a tennis volley task were assessed in low- and high-pressure posttraining conditions. Results revealed significant benefits of training on WM capacity, quiet eye offset, and tennis performance in the high-pressure condition. Our results confirm and extend previous findings supporting the transfer of cognitive training benefits to objective measures of sports performance under pressure.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Human Kinetics via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 39 (6), pp. 412 - 422