FOR WELL OVER A DECADE, RESEARCHERS HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT OPTIMAL SKILL PERFORMANCE IS ACHIEVED WHEN FOCUS OF ATTENTION IS DIRECTED EXTERNALLY RATHER THAN INTERNALLY OR NEUTRALLY. IN THIS ARTICLE, WE REVIEW RESEARCH ON THIS TOPIC THAT IS SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO THE FIELD OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING. IN DOING THIS, WE DISCUSS FINDINGS AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS RELATED TO RESISTANCE TRAINING, RUNNING AND AGILITY TRAINING, JUMP TRAINING, AND FUNCTIONAL BALANCE TRAINING. ADDITIONALLY, WE PROVIDE TIPS FOR COACHES SO THAT THEY CAN MORE EFFECTIVELY DIRECT THEIR ATHLETE'S ATTENTION DURING PRACTICE AND IN THE COMPETITIVE ARENA. A VIDEO ABSTRACT DESCRIBING THIS ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND IN SUPPLEMENTAL DIGITAL CONTENT 1 (SEE VIDEO, HTTP://LINKS.LWW.COM/SCJ/A120).
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1Department of Athletics, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport in Biala Podlaska, The Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland; and
2Department of Kinesiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois
Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.
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Hubert Makaruk is an assistant professor in Department of Athletics, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, The Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw.
Jared M. Porter is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and director of the Motor Behavior Laboratory at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.