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To extend research on decision-making in sport we addressed the choices volleyball- players are faced with in a simple volleyball pass-return task. We manipulated the distance that eight experienced volleyball players had to cover for successful ball passing, and mapped their passing technique (i.e., overhead or underhand) and ball return accuracy in a choice condition. Passing accuracy was then compared with conditions in which reception technique was imposed by instruction. When players were free to choose their technique the landing zone of the ball influenced the choice of technique: When a ball landed further away, the adoption of underhand technique increased, especially for balls that landed in front of the participants. Furthermore, in all conditions the accuracy of the pass decreased with increasing distance to be covered. These results are discussed vis-à-vis the idea that player behavior is shaped by affordances (i.e., possibilities for action). It is argued that to understand decision-making in dynamic sport situations we need to understand how players deal with competing affordances.


School of Exercise Science

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Journal Article

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