Metastability and emergent performance of dynamic interceptive actions

Pinder, Ross A., Davids, Keith, & Renshaw, Ian (2012) Metastability and emergent performance of dynamic interceptive actions. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15(5), pp. 437-443.

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Objectives: Adaptive patterning of human movement is context specific and dependent on interacting constraints of the performer–environment relationship. Flexibility of skilled behaviour is predicated on the capacity of performers to move between different states of movement organisation to satisfy dynamic task constraints, previously demonstrated in studies of visual perception, bimanual coordination, and an interceptive combat task. Metastability is a movement system property that helps performers to remain in a state of relative coordination with their performance environments, poised between multiple co-existing states (stable and distinct movement patterns or responses). The aim of this study was to examine whether metastability could be exploited in externally paced interceptive actions in fast ball sports, such as cricket.

Design: Here we report data on metastability in performance of multi-articular hitting actions by skilled junior cricket batters (n = 5).

Methods: Participants’ batting actions (key movement timings and performance outcomes) were analysed in four distinct performance regions varied by ball pitching (bounce) location.

Results: Results demonstrated that, at a pre-determined distance to the ball, participants were forced into a meta-stable region of performance where rich and varied patterns of functional movement behaviours emerged. Participants adapted the organisation of responses, resulting in higher levels of variability in movement timing in this performance region, without detrimental effects on the quality of interceptive performance outcomes.

Conclusions: Findings provide evidence for the emergence of metastability in a dynamic interceptive action in cricket batting. Flexibility and diversity of movement responses were optimised using experiential knowledge and careful manipulation of key task constraints of the specific sport context.

Impact and interest:

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13 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 63698
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Movement organisation, Metastability, Interceptive actions, Task constraints
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2012.01.002
ISSN: 1440-2440
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sport and Exercise Psychology (170114)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 24 Oct 2013 23:25
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2013 03:31

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