Pattern recall expertise is not affected by moderate physical exercise in female handball players


General perceptual-cognitive abilities improve under submaximal physical exercise (Pesce, Tessitore, Casella, Pirritano, & Capranica, 2007); however sport-specific skills (e.g. pattern recall) are typically investigated at rest (cf. Williams & Abernethy, 2012). The aim of this study was to examine sport specific pattern recall expertise both at rest and under moderate physical exercise. Thirty-three participants from three groups (handball experts, advanced handball players, and novices) were tested in a handball specific pattern recall task under two conditions, at rest and under a moderate physical exercise of 60 % heart rate reserve (Pesce et al., 2007). We measured pattern recall performance in both conditions as the accuracy of the recalled players’ positions as root-mean square error. An analysis of variance revealed significant main effects for group differences, F(2,30) = 8.49, p < .01, f = .75, with experts performing superior to novices, D = 20.42, p < .01. However, no within subject differences were found between two conditions, F(1, 30) = .48, p = .50, f = .13, 1-ß = .22, and the interaction between factors was non-significant, F(2, 30) = .07, p = .94, f = .06, 1-ß = .09. Although these results replicate prior research concerning expertise differences in pattern recall tasks the lack of effect for the physical exercise condition might be because the physical exercise was not handball specific (see Manchado et al., 2013) or that submaximal exercise only has a facilitating effect on general perceptual-cognitive abilities which were not influential in this sport-specific pattern recall task.