Predictive response analysis in context of boxers’ mental progress

PhD, Associate Professor L.A. Ivanova1
PhD, Associate Professor O.A. Kazakova1
A.Y. Aleksin1
1Samara State University of Economics, Samara

Keywords: mental qualities, anticipative responsiveness, training process effects, age-specific development factors, boxing training practices, sensorimotor response to signal.

Background. The human ability to anticipate and respond in a proactive manner has always been in focus of the psychological science since its early days (S.Y. Rubinstein, B.V. Zeigarnik, Y.F. Polyakova et al.) as an independent scientific discipline. The researchers have offered a wide variety of approaches with their notional systems and theoretical basics to explore the relevant complex phenomena and their manifestations. Analyses of the mental processes and mechanisms behind the anticipation qualities and skills in modern sports are still central for the sport science.

Objective of the study was to analyze the predictive capacities and qualities in beginner boxers, the relevant mental qualities and progress factors to offer efficient training system including a set of special exercises to excel the critical mental qualities in a focused manner.

Methods and structure of the study. Applied for the study purposes was a set of mental conditioning and training methods, laboratory tests and competitive performance modeling tools. Used in the tests was a reflex measurment system generating single and multiple discrete visual fixed signals (by an inertia-free flash lamp) and moveable signals (discharges in decatron of a millisecondmeter). The laboratory tests were designed to obtain the following test data: (1) simple mental response rate; (2) proactive/ predictive response accuracy; (3) choice response rate in an inhibited differentiation mode; (4) choice response rate in a positive differentiation mode; and (5) timing feel.

To test and rate different sensorimotor response aspects in the sample, we designed a telemetric system to model a variety of elementary competitive situations and train responses including:

  • Simple response to the same signal by a punch to a fixed spot on the punching bag;
  • Choice (one of two signals) response by a punch into one of two fixed spots on the punching bag;
  • Choice response in an inhibited differentiation mode, with one of two signals prohibiting a punch and urging the boxer turn to defense;
  • Choice response in a positive differentiation mode, with coupled signals coming at a time;
  • Choice response in an alternating mode, with two signals on the right or left hand needed to be responded by a punch; and a single signal (right or left) inhibiting response i.e. prohibiting a punch.

Study findings and discussion. The test data mining experiment was followed by an analysis of the mental performance rates, with the following rates found the most expressed in the 14-15 years old boxers versus their non-sporting peers: choice response rates, timing, and the proactive response accuracy. The rates variability over time was found rather inconsistent i.e. showing a few sensitive periods for specific qualities that may be profiled by an analysis. It was not sooner than in two years that the beginner boxers showed significant progress in the subject sensorimotor response rates. If we now define a sensitive period as the time most favorable for progress of one or another quality, it may be stated with confidence that the 14-15 year period is one of the most sensitive ones for the sensorimotor qualities development trainings in boxing.

Furthermore, the specific response improvement model testing experiment showed the highest progress in the 14-15 year-olds in the qualities claimed by the relatively simple model situations; with the response accuracy in the most complex situation found to peak at 16 years of age.

The specific response improvement model testing experiment and new tests were followed by a three-factor-dispersion analysis, with A-factor referring to the age specific differences; B-factor to the educational experiment related differences and C-factor to the boxing experience related specifics.

The simple response rates were found to clearly depend on the boxing experience related C-factor only, with the factor contribution (r) estimated at 0.28; whilst contributions of the other two factors were found virtually meaningless.

The proactive response rates and analyses showed a different picture, with every of the above factors being insignificant, albeit the boxing experience related C-factor again was found to make the dominant contribution to the total dispersion (with r=0.43). The proactive response accuracy was found to grow as soon as the boxer starts trainings, and this fact may be interpreted as indicative of the proactive response rate and accuracy being one of the top priority qualities for a modern boxer. In contrast to the simple response rate, the proactive response rate is largely influenced by the educational experiment related B-factor (with r=0.25); with the correlation of B- and C-factors found meaningful.

The above findings may be interpreted as indicative of the proactive response to the signals being facilitated by the specific response improvement model testing experiment – for the reason that the experimental set of exercises makes a special emphasis on the proactive response training elements, with the attention mostly focused on the first signs of the upcoming signal, partner’s rush, movement startup in response to the signal etc. The junior boxers were found to develop the ability to time their responses so as to level down the timing uncertainties by concentration on the prior signs triggering the proactive responses. Progress in the proactive responsiveness was found to encourage a range of functions driven by the proactive response mechanisms.

Unexpectedly enough, contribution of the boxing experience related C-actor in the inhibited differentiation response mode was found relatively modest. Only two tests showed significant results in the case, with the age-specific A-factor and the education experiment related B-factor tested to make meaningful (p≥0.5) contributions (v=0.54 and т=0.28, respectively). This may be due to the specifics of the dispersion analysis, with one factor making so high contribution that it tells on the meanings of the other two factors.

Based on the study data and analysis we may state with confidence that choice responsiveness is one of the key qualities for success in the modern boxing sport as verified, among other things, by findings of the dispersion analysis that showed that progress in choice response accuracy depends on every of the three analyzed factors.

Conclusion. Based on the study data and analysis we classified the mental qualities by the following factors of influence:

  • Proactive response and choice response qualities were found to develop with contributions from every of the three factors, with the boxing experience related C-factor found dominant in every case, followed by the education experiment related B-factor.
  • The inhibited differentiation qualities were found to progress as a result of the specific response improvement model testing experiment.
  • The simple response rates were found to progress with the boxing experience related C-factor.
  • On the whole, findings of the dispersion analysis under the study were found consistent with the prior theoretical assumption that the selected performance indices correlate with the progress of individual mental qualities with aging and maturing processes in the relevant sport disciplines.


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The study was designed to analyze the predictive responsiveness in beginner boxers i.e. progress of their anticipative responses in the training and competitive process. This kind of analysis supported by the relevant competitive mental conditioning models may be beneficial for studies of the sport effects on the adolescents’ mental progress. Good competitive progress may be secured by the training system being designed to cultivate the key qualities plus the fight techniques and tactics of importance for success. The anticipative responsiveness development element was found indispensable for progress in modern boxing as demonstrated by a training model testing experiment. Benefits of the anticipative responsiveness development tools were confirmed by a dispersion analysis, with the analytical data showing the progress of the anticipative responsiveness development efforts determined by three key factors. In terms of the practical effects of these factors, the picture is the following: the anticipative responsiveness building progress will be secured by a reasonable combination of persistent trainings and progress tests. The study data and analyses demonstrate that the choice response rate and accuracy may be fast improved in the beginner trainings conditional on a set of special anticipative responsiveness building tools being applied. The progress in this training component is determined to a lesser degree by the age-specific development rate as verified by a meaningful correlation found by the study.