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Psychol Res. 2017 Sep;81(5):1051-1058. doi: 10.1007/s00426-016-0790-1. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

Choices enhance punching performance of competitive kickboxers.

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Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia.
Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia.
Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia.
Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia.
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, USA.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA.


While self-controlled practice has been shown to enhance motor learning with various populations and novel tasks, it remains unclear if such effects would be found with athletes completing familiar tasks. Study 1 used a single case-study design with a world-champion kickboxer. We investigated whether giving the athlete a choice over the order of punches would affect punching velocity and impact force. Separated by 1 min of rest, the athlete completed 2 rounds of 12 single, maximal effort punches (lead straight, rear straight, lead hook and rear hook) delivered to a punching integrator in a counterbalanced order over six testing days. In one round the punches were delivered in a predetermined order while in the second round the order was self-selected by the athlete. In the choice condition, the world champion punched with greater velocities (6-11 %) and impact forces (5-10 %). In Study 2, the same testing procedures were repeated with 13 amateur male kickboxers over 2 testing days. Similar to Study 1, the athletes punched with significantly greater velocities (6 %, p < 0.05) and normalised impact forces (2 %, p < 0.05) in the choice condition. These findings complement research on autonomy support in motor learning by demonstrating immediate advantages in force production and velocity with experienced athletes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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