Perceptual-cognitive expertise and simulation-based training in sport
The ability to anticipate is paramount because the speed of play dictates that athletes do not have time to react to an opponent’s actions due to the time needed to choose and initiate the appropriate response. In many sports, the ability to anticipate what will happen next is crucial to successful performance. A number of perceptual-cognitive skills have been reported as being crucial to anticipation in sport. These include the ability to pick up postural cues, the capacity to identify structure in evolving sequences of play, the superior knowledge of situational probabilities, linked to the ability to make more refined use of context-related information, and finally, the more effective use of gaze behaviors. Skilled athletes are better than less-skilled counterparts at picking up information from opponent’s bodily movements ahead of a key event such as ball–racket or ball-foot contact. An important issue to consider is whether simulation training offers any advantages over other methods of developing anticipation.