Research Impact: Competition anxiety is highly prevalent in both professional and amateur sport. One of the main difficulties in sport psychology research is manipulating levels of pressure and anxiety in a realistic and controlled environment. As a result, there is an overreliance in the competition anxiety literature on self-paced skills, such as golf putting and basketball free-throws, versus dynamic open skills, such as cricket batting.
Over the last 15 years, virtual reality (VR) has been used to manipulate the perceptual input to the brain and measure the action output in areas such as healthcare and policing. In this research we employed VR to create a cricket batting simulator that allowed us to measure the effect of pressure and anxiety on performance in a dynamic simulation with professional and amateur Irish batters.
We show that VR environments that have been designed appropriately can be an effective tool for understanding expertise differences in terms of decisions and action responses. Furthermore, the correct use of the technology can provide a dynamic environment that facilitates the measurement of the effects of pressure on performance.
Kelly, N., Stafford, J., Craig, C., Herring, M.P. and Campbell, M., 2022. Using a virtual reality cricket simulator to explore the effects of pressure, competition anxiety on batting performance in cricket. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 63, p.102244. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2022.102244
Collaborators on the project:
- Prof. Mark Campbell (University of Limerick)
- Dr. Matthew Herring (University of Limerick)
- Dr. James Stafford (Queens University)
- Prof. Cathy Craig (Ulster University)