Virtual Environments for Sport Analysis: Perception-Action Coupling in Handball Goalkeeping


In sports science, the link between the experimental protocol and the subject's behaviour in real condition is a key issue. Virtual reality enables to examine this topic because of the reproducibility of situations and the total control of animated humanoids in situations similar to the real world. This study aimed to analyze the influence of the degree of perception-action coupling on the performance of handball goalkeepers in a virtual environment. 8 national handball goalkeepers were asked to react to the actions of a virtual handball thrower in two conditions: a perception-action uncoupled condition (defined as a judgment task) and a perception-action coupled condition (defined as a motor task). In the judgment condition, goalkeepers were asked to make a perceptual judgment with their hand in their own time after the virtual throw; in the motor task condition, goalkeepers had to react in real-time to the virtual throwing motion. Results showed that percentage of successful response was higher in the motor task condition and radial error (distance between the ball and the closest limb when trial was unsuccessful) was lower for the same condition. Implications of our findings are discussed, as well as suggestions for further research..


Nicolas Vignais

Benoit Bideau

Cathy Craig

Sébastien Brault

Franck Multon

Richard Kulpa


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