Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology vol:30 issue:2 pages:159-170
Preparatory heart rate deceleration occurs in tasks with an external focus of attention and is often assumed to facilitate balance performance. However, its effects upon sport-related complex balance movements have not been Studied. Heart rate patterns during the preparation period of an acrobatic element (flic-flac) on the balance beam were studied in 14 female gymnasts (M age 13.2 years). A significant heart rate deceleration was found in attempts with a fall in the consecutive acrobatic element, but not in attempts without a fall. These data suggest that preparatory heart rate deceleration may be detrimental to the performance of complex movements on the balance beam.