Click on the title to go to an interesting article by Simon Briggs in The Daily Telegraph about ‘testing’ and measurement of performance in cricket. Below I provide some thoughts on this issue from our own work.
A key feature of our work highlights the need to design learning environments that replicate the performance environment. However, we have also commented on ‘testing’ that fails to capture the key features of expertise in sport. Capturing expertise is a challenging task and the inherent complexity of performance environments maybe one reason why sport scientists often disregard the importance of environmental characteristics and instead opt for simplified tests such as video based perception tests (or fitness tests) because they are easy to standardise and repeat. While previous research has shed some light on our understanding of expertise, when experimental conditions differ to performance environments they markedly alter an athlete’s behaviour. Recent research is bringing into question the value of making performance judgements via non-representative tasks as participants are only able to base their responses. For example, how useful is testing batting ability via a standardised test against a bowling machine, when the absence of the cues available in bowler’s actions has been shown to change the technique of batters (See Renshaw et al., 2009: Pinder et al, 2009, 2011)? In contrast, responses taken from tests representative of performance environments are a consequence of participants interacting continuously and unobtrusively with their environment through being are able to see, feel, and hear relevant stimuli (Pluijms et al, 20013). Designing tests in ‘representative performance environments requires sport scientists to ensure the presence of all key information sources that guide performer’s actions. By default, this requirement requires the adoption of integrative, inter-disciplinary approaches to studying expertise.
Pinder, R., Renshaw, I., Davids, K.D, (2013). The Role of Representative Design in Talent Development: A Comment on “Talent identification and promotion programmes of Olympic athletes.” Journal of Sports Sciences, 31, 8, 803-806.
24. Pinder, R., Renshaw, I., & Davids, K. (2009). Information-movement coupling in developing cricketers under changing ecological practice constraints. Human Movement Science, 28(4), 468-479.
Pinder, R. A., Davids, K., Renshaw, I., & Araújo, D. (2011). Manipulating informational constraints shapes movement re-organisation in interceptive actions. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. doi: 10.3758/s13414-011-0102-1
Renshaw, I., Oldham, T., Davids, K., & Golds, T. (2007). Changing ecological constraints of practice alters coordination of dynamic interceptive actions. European Journal of Sports Sciences, 7(3), 157-167.
Villar, L., Araujo, D., Davids, K., & Renshaw, I. (2013). The need for ‘representative task designs’ in evaluating efficacy of skills tests in sport: A comment on Russell, Benton and Kingsley (2010). Journal of Sports Sciences, 1-4.