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Standing Long-Jump Performance is Enhanced when Using an External Focus of Attention

Porter, Jared M1; Ostrowski, Erik J1; Nolan, Russell P1; Wu, Will F W2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181df7fbf
Original Research
Abstract

Porter, JM, Ostrowski, EJ, Nolan, RP, and Wu, WFW. Standing long-jump performance is enhanced when using an external focus of attention. J Strength Cond Res 24(7): 1746-1750, 2010-Several experiments have demonstrated that focusing a performer's attention externally (i.e., on the effects of a movement) rather than internally (i.e., on specific parts of the body) enhances performance when the task requires object manipulation (i.e., throwing a ball to a target). The purpose of this experiment was to investigate if whole-body movements (e.g., standing long jump), without object manipulation, are influenced by an internal or external focus of attention. After participants (n = 120) completed a short warm-up, they were assigned to either an internal (INT) or external (EXT) focus of attention group. All participants completed 5 standing long jumps separated by a 2-minute seated rest. Before each jump, participants in the INT condition were read the following instructions: “When you are attempting to jump as far as possible, I want you to focus your attention on extending your knees as rapidly as possible.” Participants in the EXT condition were read the following instructions: “When you are attempting to jump as far as possible, I want you to focus your attention on jumping as far past the start line as possible.” An independent samples t-test revealed a significant difference (p = 0.003) in the average distance jumped between the EXT (187.37 ± 42.66 cm) group and the INT group (177.33 ± 40.97 cm). The results suggest that providing instructions that focus attention externally enhances standing long-jump performance compared with instructions that focus attention internally. This finding is valuable for strength and conditioning professionals that use jumping tests to evaluate performance.

Author Information

1Department of Kinesiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois; and 2Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Long Beach, California

Address correspondence to Jared M. Porter, jporter@siu.edu.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association