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J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2008 Dec;30(6):685-708.

The contribution of structured activity and deliberate play to the development of expert perceptual and decision-making skill.

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Essendon Football Club and the School of Human Movement & Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.


The developmental histories of 32 players in the Australian Football League (AFL), independently classified as either expert or less skilled in their perceptual and decision-making skills, were collected through a structured interview process and their year-on-year involvement in structured and deliberate play activities retrospectively determined. Despite being drawn from the same elite level of competition, the expert decision-makers differed from the less skilled in having accrued, during their developing years, more hours of experience in structured activities of all types, in structured activities in invasion-type sports, in invasion-type deliberate play, and in invasion activities from sports other than Australian football. Accumulated hours invested in invasion-type activities differentiated between the groups, suggesting that it is the amount of invasion-type activity that is experienced and not necessarily intent (skill development or fun) or specificity that facilitates the development of perceptual and decision-making expertise in this team sport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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