How boxers decide to punch a target: emergent behaviour in nonlinear dynamical movement systems

HRISTOVSKI, R, DAVIDS, K, ARAUJO, D and BUTTON, C (2006). How boxers decide to punch a target: emergent behaviour in nonlinear dynamical movement systems. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 5 (CSSI), 60-73.

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Previous research has shown how dynamical systems theory provides a relevant framework for investigating decision-making behavior in sport. The aim of this study was to adopt concepts and tools from nonlinear dynamics in examining effects of boxer-target distance and perceived punching efficiency on emergent decision-making during a typical practice task in boxing. Results revealed the existence of critical values of scaled distances between boxers and targets for first time appearance and disappearance of a diverse range of boxing actions including jabs, hooks and uppercuts. Reasons for the diversity of actions were twofold: i) abrupt (qualitative) changes in the number of the possible punches, i.e. motor solutions to the hitting task; and ii), fine modification of the probabilities of selecting specific striking patterns. Boxers were able to exploit the emerging perception of strikeability, leading to a changing diversity of selected actions and a cascade of abrupt changes in the perceptual-motor work space of the task. Perceived efficiency of a punching action by the participants also changed as a function of the scaled distance to a target and was correlated with the probability of occurrence of specific boxing actions. Accordingly, scaled distance-dependent perceived efficiency seems an important perceptual constraint in the training task of punching a heavy bag in boxers.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Page Range: 60-73
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2011 10:40
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 00:31

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