About this Research Topic
Significant advances have been made over the last 30 years in revealing the remarkable perceptual-cognitive skills of expert athletes. Expert performers are typically characterized by superior performance on tests of perceptual-cognitive skills (e.g., anticipation, decision making, pattern recall, situational probabilities), along with unique gaze behavior that decrease information search times and increase processing capacity and attentional control.
This expert advantage has inspired scientists to explore the possibility of implementing specific interventions to enhance the learning and the performance of sports-related cognitive and motor skills. In the tradition of the expert-performance approach, this type of research seeks to uncover skills that are linked to superior motor performance, studying their underlying mechanisms and, finally, applying this knowledge to improve performance through training. To date, however, studies have failed to follow a systematic approach to uncovering the best conditions for training, instead adopting a wide variety of different training approaches and designs. This is aggravated by the fact that recent research suggests there may be reason to doubt the results of earlier training studies that failed to account for the tight coupling between perception and action that would be typically present in the performance environment. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that practitioners are left with little in the way of practical recommendations for the best approaches to adopt for training. In sum, this situation calls for the need to establish an overview on the past, present, but specifically the future of perceptual learning research in sport.
The goal of this Research Topic is to showcase current theoretical and experimental investigations that cover the breadth of the research in perceptual training in sport. Researchers are welcome to submit contributions in the form of experimental reports and/or reviews. Furthermore, we will specifically welcome larger research groups to contribute their perspective on future research questions and possible challenges, in particular emphasizing the gap that currently exists between theory and practice. Important topics that we seek to address include practice transfer, instructional methods, and competitive stress. Moreover, given the recent concerns around publication bias, research groups are welcome to submit null findings for training studies that have sought to train perceptual-motor skill.
Keywords: perception-action coupling, sport science, performance, learning, transfer