Elite pistol shooters: physiological patterning of best vs. worst shots

This study examined patterns of physiological activity in elite pistol shooters and compared them with novice shooters. Heart rate and electrodermal activity were recorded for three 150-s epochs. Participants performed part of the Standard Pistol Shooting Protocol, firing five rounds at a target 25 m distant within the first 150 s epoch. In the second epoch, baseline data were recorded with the participant standing at rest. The third epoch was a repetition of the first epoch. For each shot, values of heart rate and skin conductance were calculated at half-second intervals from 20 s before to 10 s after the shot. In experts there was a slow reduction in skin conductance and heart rate levels prior to the shot, and a 'rebound' increase immediately following the shot, which were not apparent in the novice shooters. Pre-shot electrodermal levels for the expert shooters were lower for the best compared with the worst shots, and the duration of the pre-shot cardiac deceleration was longer and more systematic for best than for worst shots. The physiological profiles supported interpretation in terms of two separate state processes, arousal and vigilance, rather than a single construct. These physiological differences are discussed in terms of differential engagement with the task and its associated attentional narrowing in expert pistol shooters.
© Copyright 2001 International Journal of Psychophysiology. Elsevier. All rights reserved.

Subjects: shooting sport physiology
Notations: biological and medical sciences technical sports
Published in: International Journal of Psychophysiology
Published: 2001
Volume: 41
Issue: 1
Pages: 19-29
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced