Automatisering av kunnskap i skihopping : en kvalitativ undersøkelse av skihopperes mentale arbeidsmengde og kunnskap
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This thesis is an investigation into how ski jumpers are affected by their mental workload, and how their knowledge about the activity can contribute to this. Because ski jumping takes place under a serious time constraint, athletes have little time to process information during performance. The complex and technically challenging take-off movement is performed in high speed. This is both difficult and involves a genuine risk of physical injury. Previous studies indicate that expert athletes can perform their skills with very little cognitive control of their movements (Naito & Hirose, 2014). This kind of automatic performance is thought to be effective and utilize the body’s natural force potential. Expert athletes are simultaneously characterized by having a greater knowledge about their activity (Williams & Davids, 1995). In sum, this makes for a challenging balance between specific knowledge and automatic performance. Qualitative interviews with four active ski jumpers at national (n=2) and international (n=2) level have been conducted to explore their mental workload and utilization of knowledge. The informants also responded to a two-question questionnaire at three occasions during their competitive season. This consisted of questions to map their perceived mental workload and ski jump specific tasks, in light of development and level of performance. The results indicate that mental workload is relevant for performance in ski jumping. This does not necessarily have to be minimal, but should be precise and specific. Results further point to the importance of the athlete’s knowledge both regarding their mental workload and their level of performance. It seems that the athletes at the international level are in possession of greater ski jump specific knowledge that heightens the quality of their choices of action and skills. The precise nature of this knowledge also seems to promote a precise and reasonable mental workload.