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Anticipation in sport: Fifty years on, what have we learned and what research still needs to be undertaken?

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journal contribution
posted on 10.12.2018, 14:58 by A. Mark Williams, Robin JacksonRobin Jackson
The ability to anticipate what will happen next is critical to performance in many sports as well as other professional domains. We review progress made in our scientific understanding of this topic since the seminal work conducted some 50 years ago. We highlight advances in methods and measures and identify the different perceptual-cognitive skills that have been identified by researchers as playing a pivotal role in anticipation. We examine how these perceptual-cognitive skills are used in a dynamic and interactive manner to facilitate anticipation, as well as how their importance varies due to the stress placed upon athletes by anxiety and fatigue. We summarise the impact of existing research on the development of training programs that facilitate acquisition of the skills underpinning anticipation. Finally, we provide some suggestions for future research in this area. We encourage continued growth in recent research exploring the role of contextual information in anticipation and present suggestions as to how the translational impact of this work can be increased in applied domains.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Psychology of Sport and Exercise




16 - 24


WILLIAMS, A.M. and JACKSON, R.C., 2018. Anticipation in sport: Fifty years on, what have we learned and what research still needs to be undertaken?. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 42, pp.16-24.


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.11.014.

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