The Dynamical Systems Perspective and Research on Perception, Action, and Sports
Athletes are able to perform complex actions with apparent ease. How do they control their movements? How do they perceive the crucial aspects of their environment and decide which action to perform? And how do the large amounts of practice help them to improve and maintain their level of skill? A growing number of researchers address such questions using concepts and tools from the theory of dynamical systems. This symposium aims to provide an introduction of key concepts of the dynamical systems approach and to describe examples of research that use these concepts. The symposium consists of five presentations (in English) and a brief introduction (en Castellano). The first presentation uses a dynamical model to study the perception of the trajectory of free kicks in soccer. We continue with two more technical (and conceptual) presentations that, among other things, consider the notions of state space, phase flow, and topology, first illustrated for two-dimensional systems and next generalized to systems of arbitrary dimension. The third presentation also introduces the technique of principle component analysis. A fourth presentation summarizes a recent body of work that applies principle component analyses to achieve an understanding of the dynamical information that experts and novices use for the anticipation of tennis shots. Finally, the fifth presentation applies ideas from the dynamical systems theory to decision making in sports such as rugby and football.