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      The effect of ego depletion on sprint start reaction time.

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      Journal of sport & exercise psychology

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          Abstract

          In the current study, we consider that optimal sprint start performance requires the self-control of responses. Therefore, start performance should depend on athletes' self-control strength. We assumed that momentary depletion of self-control strength (ego depletion) would either speed up or slow down the initiation of a sprint start, where an initiation that was sped up would carry the increased risk of a false start. Applying a mixed between- (depletion vs. nondepletion) and within- (before vs. after manipulation of depletion) subjects design, we tested the start reaction times of 37 sport students. We found that participants' start reaction times decelerated after finishing a depleting task, whereas it remained constant in the nondepletion condition. These results indicate that sprint start performance can be impaired by unrelated preceding actions that lower momentary self-control strength. We discuss practical implications in terms of optimizing sprint starts and related overall sprint performance.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Sport Exerc Psychol
          Journal of sport & exercise psychology
          1543-2904
          0895-2779
          Oct 2014
          : 36
          : 5
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Sport Psychology, Institute of Sports and Sports Sciences, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
          Article
          10.1123/jsep.2014-0029
          25356613

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