2006 volume 35(3) pages 317 – 332

Cite as:
Williams A M, Hodges N J, North J S, Barton G, 2006, "Perceiving patterns of play in dynamic sport tasks: Investigating the essential information underlying skilled performance" Perception 35(3) 317 – 332

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Perceiving patterns of play in dynamic sport tasks: Investigating the essential information underlying skilled performance

A Mark Williams, Nicola J Hodges, Jamie S North, Gabor Barton

Received 8 July 2004, in revised form 26 June 2005; published online 6 February 2006

Abstract. The perceptual – cognitive information used to support pattern-recognition skill in soccer was examined. In experiment 1, skilled players were quicker and more accurate than less-skilled players at recognising familiar and unfamiliar soccer action sequences presented on film. In experiment 2, these action sequences were converted into point-light displays, with superficial display features removed and the positions of players and the relational information between them made more salient. Skilled players were more accurate than less-skilled players in recognising sequences presented in point-light form, implying that each pattern of play can be defined by the unique relations between players. In experiment 3, various offensive and defensive players were occluded for the duration of each trial in an attempt to identify the most important sources of information underpinning successful performance. A decrease in response accuracy was observed under occluded compared with non-occluded conditions and the expertise effect was no longer observed. The relational information between certain key players, team-mates and their defensive counterparts may provide the essential information for effective pattern-recognition skill in soccer. Structural feature analysis, temporal phase relations, and knowledge-based information are effectively integrated to facilitate pattern recognition in dynamic sport tasks.

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