Metastability and emergent performance of dynamic interceptive actions

PINDER, Ross A., DAVIDS, Keith and RENSHAW, Ian (2012). Metastability and emergent performance of dynamic interceptive actions. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15 (5), 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.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 437-443
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2013 14:46
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 19:45

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