The role of attentional focus in plyometric training.J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Jun; 52(3):319-27.JS
The purpose of this study was to examine how focusing attention during nine weeks of plyometric training influence jumping performance. It was hypothesized that participants utilizing an external focus of attention during practice would produce greater improvements in jumping behavior compared to participants practicing in the internal and control conditions.
Thirty-six untrained but physically active male college students were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 plyometric groups with a different focus of attention: external (EXF; N.=12), internal (INF; N.=12), and control (CON; N.=12). All participants subsequently participated in the same an 9-week periodized training program. Standing long jump (SLJ), countermovement jump (CMJ) and drop jump (DJ) were tested pre- and posttraining intervention.
The EXF group exhibited greater improvement (P<0.05) in jumping distance for SLJ and height for CMJ than both the INF and CON groups, while the enhancement in jumping height for DJ was not superior (P<0.05) in the EXF group in comparison with the INF and CON groups. However, the CON group showed a greater increase (P<0.05) in jumping height for DJ than the INF group. The EXF group increased the range of knee flexion (KF), whereas both the INF and CON groups decreased the KF during the CMJ. Additionally, only the CON group reduced KF during the execution of the DJ. The EXF group (P<0.05) increased contact time, whereas both the INF and CON groups decreased (P<0.05) contact time in DJ. The EXF group had significantly (P<0.05) greater vertical ground reaction force in CMJ and DJ when compared with the INF and CON groups.
These results suggest that the external focus of attention during plyometric training may provide a greater stimulus to jump performance in slow stretch shortening cycle (SSC) tasks by producing greater force than adopting the internal and no specific focus.