Information Processing during the Performance of Skills in Physical Education
Response time is the total period of time from the presentation of a
stimulus to the completion of the response. It consists of two main
periods, reaction time and movement time.
The speed at which we make decisions is called our reaction time. In
terms of sporting activities, it is important to be able to respond to
a stimulus quickly because it allows the performer to be in greater
control. Reaction time is also made up of smaller units.
In athletics, during a 100m race, a fast reaction time is imperative
for optimum performance. The quicker the athlete is able to respond to
the starting gun, the quicker they are able to get out of the blocks
allowing them to dominate the race (assuming that they have the
strength to sprint at a consistently fast pace).
The time period it takes for an athlete to initiate an action and
complete it is called the movement time. Movement time is dependant on
the strength and type of the muscle fibre contained within the muscle,
and the level of technique that the athlete has acquired.
During a 100m race, the time it takes for the athlete to push out of
the blocks until the point at which the athlete crosses the finish
line is known as the movement time.
Warning given Stimulus detected Decision to respond Action complete
Stimulus Stimulus Action
(gun) Recognised Initiated
1 2 3 4 5
Reaction time Movement time
Response time the diagram above shows:.
- Warning given: these are the words "take your marks………… set" spoken
by the official.
- Stimulus is presented: this is the sound of the gunfire.
- 1: this denotes the time it takes from the presentation of the
to the point at which the athletes ears detect the sound. This time is
known as the stimulus transmission time.
- Stimulus detected: the athletes' ears detect the sound.
- 2: this denotes the time it takes for the athlete to make sense of
stimulus i.e. recognise it.
- Stimulus recognised: the point at which the athlete becomes aware
that Heidegger the sound was the cue to begin movement.
- 3: this denotes the time it takes for the athlete to decide whether
respond to the stimulus (Decision Time).
- Decision to respond: occurs when the athlete decides to move away
from the blocks.
- 4: this denotes the nerve transmission time, whereby the decision to
respond must be sent to the relevant muscles.
- Action initiated: the muscles receive instructions to move,
initiating the pushing away from the blocks. - 5: denotes the time
taken from the point at which the movement action
is initiated, to the point at which the action is completed. - Action
complete: this is the point at which the decided response to the