Technical skills in talent research in sport

In the last few decades, an increasing number of talent identification and development (TID) programs in sports have been installed by professional sports clubs, commercial agencies and national governing institutions. All have the goal of identifying talented young athletes as early as possible in the hope of laying the foundations for superior senior performance and success in the long term. Undoubtedly, ‘talent’ as well as high level performance in most sports requires a range of perceptual, cognitive, psychological, tactical and technical skills. In particular, technical skills seem to be essential given the highly demanding and specialized proficiencies required for high quality performance in various sports even during early phases of development.

This project investigates the role of sport-specific technical skills in the context of talent science in various sports. The focus is to further understand technical skills’ crucial role within TID activities and to fathom the potential of so far sparingly applied biomechanical assessment methods. Here, innovative and new methods (e.g. Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) or markerless motion analysis) will be applied and tested. In the end, the gained knowledge and findings will be of use for the scientific talent field as well as the applied sports.

Contact: Till Koopmann

The role of contextual information for anticipation in sport

In sports games, there are often situations in which it is necessary to anticipate the outcome of an opponent's action in order to adapt one's own actions accordingly and thereby achieve an advantage in the respective situation. These situations often arise due to time pressure, for example because the distances between the players are very small in relation to the speed of movement or the speed of a flying ball. By anticipating opponent actions early on, the own defensive movement can be initiated early and executed more precisely, thus increasing the chances for a successful defense. Anticipation may be driven by different sources of information. So far, research primarily focused on the influence of kinematic information created by opponents. This project deals with the question of the influence of contextual information on anticipation. Contextual information is defined as probabilities for different opponents' actions, which depend, for example, on on-court positions, patterns of previous outcomes, individual action preferences, or game score. Specifically, this project investigates the influence of opponents’ action preferences, mediated externally as is commonly realized during time-outs in, for instance, volleyball, handball or basketball games, on anticipation. Furthermore, it will be examined whether and to what extend this information is relevant in concert with other contextual information concurrently available. This project is intended to make a scientific contribution to a better understanding of the influence of contextual information on anticipation. From an applied perspective, preliminary recommendations on how to communicate action preferences and their overall benefit for performance may be obtained.

Contact: Tim Lüders

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