Information acquisition differences between experienced and novice time trial cyclists

Boya, Manhal, Foulsham, Tom, Hettinga, Florentina, Parry, David, Williams, Emily L, Massey, Hollie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9793-8702, Sparks, S Andy, Marchant, David, Ellison, Paul et al (2017) Information acquisition differences between experienced and novice time trial cyclists. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 49 (9). pp. 1884-1898. ISSN 0195-9131

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Purpose: To use eye-tracking technology to directly compare information acquisition behavior of experienced and novice cyclists during a self-paced 10 mile (16.1 km) time-trial. Method: Two groups of novice (N=10) and experienced cyclists (N=10) performed a 10-mile self-paced time-trial (TT) on two separate occasions during which a number of feedback variables (speed, distance, power output, cadence, heart rate, and time) were projected within their view. A large RPE scale was also presented next to the projected information and participants. Participants were fitted with a head-mounted eye32
tracker and heart rate monitor. Results: Experienced cyclists performed both time-trials quicker than novices (F1,18=6.8, P=.018) during which they primarily looked at speed (9 of 10 participants) whereas novices primarily looked at distance (6 of 10 participants). Experienced cyclists looked at primary information for longer than novices across the whole time-trial (24.5±4.2% vs. 34.2±6.1%, t18=4.2, P<0.001) and less frequently than novices during the last quarter of the time-trial (49±19 vs. 80±32, t18=-2.6, P=0.009). The most common combination of primary and secondary information looked at by experienced cyclists was speed and distance respectively. Looking at ten different primary-secondary feedback permutations, the novices were less consistent than the experienced cyclists in their information acquisition behavior. Conclusion: This study challenges the importance placed on knowledge of the endpoint to pacing in previous models, especially for experienced cyclists for whom distance feedback was looked at secondary to, but in conjunction with, information about speed. Novice cyclists have a greater dependence upon distance feedback, which they look at for shorter and more frequent periods of time than the experienced cyclists. Experienced cyclists are more selective and consistent in attention to feedback during time-trial cycling.

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