AbstractThe current study aimed to examine if sport-specific training has an impact on the avoidance behaviours of rugby players during a head-on collision course with an approaching person. Female rugby players (N=10, x ?= 20 ± 0.94 years) and non-athletes (N=10, x ?= 21.9 ± 1.6 years) were instructed to walk along a 10m path towards a goal located along the midline. A female confederate initially positioned along the midline 180? from the participant walked towards the participant to one of four predetermined final positions: 1) along the midline in the participants' starting position; 2) stopped along the midline 2.5 m from her starting position; 3) to the left of the participants' starting position; and 4) to the right of the participants' starting position. Results revealed when the path of the confederate was uncertain, individuals used a consistent TTC to determine when to change their path. Athletes were found to avoid significantly later (i.e. smaller TTC) than non-athletes. However, following a change in path, sport-specific training did not impact the avoidance behaviours of the groups, but rather the environment was the regulating factor. When the path of the confederate was uncertain, individuals did not use a single avoidance strategy, instead considered the fit between their individual characteristics (i.e., action capabilities) and components of the environment (i.e. path of the confederate and task constraints). Athletes who are specifically trained to fit between spaces and avoid obstacles may consider their action capabilities in conjunction with their visual information to determine time of avoidance.
Acknowledgments: NSERC 05288-2014