Handball Goalkeeper Intuitive Decision-Making: A Naturalistic Case Study

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Marie Le Menn, Cyril Bossard, Bruno Travassos, Ricardo Duarte, Gilles Kermarrec

Goalkeepers hold a key position for success in team sports competitions. They perform in dynamical contexts and are highly submitted to time pressure. The purpose of this naturalistic case study, therefore, was to explore how a handball expert goalkeeper deals with the uncertainty of the competition settings to make successful decisions. An individual selfconfrontation interview was held with a goalkeeper while he watched duels with potential throwers in an official competition. A mixed method was used combining the first-person and third-person point of view. Verbal data were supplemented by observational data (distance measures between the goalkeeper and the potential thrower) in 83 short accounts of decision-making situations. Qualitative analysis resulted in 419 units of salient features, in three types of processes related to the Recognition-Primed Decision model, and in four micro-decisions. Non-parametrical statistical analysis indicated that there was a significant effect of distances between the potential thrower and the goalkeeper, on the micro-decision categories, but not on the recognition processes. These results provide insights into cognitive contents and processes an expert goalkeeper can use under uncertainty and time pressure. The mixed method furnishes a meaningful description and a subsequent understanding of expert performances in sport
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0042
Key words
recognition processes, goalkeeping performance, elite, team sport, competition

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