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Pre-shot EEG alpha-power reactivity during expert air-pistol shooting: a comparison of best and worst shots

Loze, Gavin M. and Collins, David J. and Holmes, Paul S. (2001) Pre-shot EEG alpha-power reactivity during expert air-pistol shooting: a comparison of best and worst shots. Journal of sports sciences, 19 (9). pp. 727-733. ISSN 0264-0414

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the proposal that pre-shot occipital electroencephalogram (EEG) alphapower reactivity would not only associate with, but also have a causal role in, the relative success of performance outcome in expert air-pistol shooting. Six expert air-pistol shooters performed a sixty-shot match, individually, while electroencephalograms were captured from occipital and anterior-temporal electrode sites during the aiming period (3 ×2 s epochs) before shot release. The five best shots and five worst shots were selected for each shooter on the basis of four shot quality indicators, and pre-shot EEG alpha power for best shots was compared with that of worst shots. Occipital EEG alpha power was found to increase during epochs 1-3 before best shots, but to decrease before worst shots; it was significantly greater during the final pre-shot epoch of best shots. This finding suggests that visual attention to the pistol and target was gradually suppressed during the pre-shot period of best shots, whereas it gradually increased before worst shots. In addition, significantly greater EEG alpha power was found at the left than at the right anterior-temporal site, lending support to the robust findings of previous target-sport studies. We conclude that the participants were able to shoot at the target with greatest success when not having maximal visual attention on where the pistol was aimed and that suppression of visual attention during the final seconds of the pre-shot period is a necessary prerequisite for automatic shot execution, as controlled by mechanisms of intention.

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