An Ecological Dynamics Framework for the Acquisition of Perceptual–Motor Skills in Climbing

  • Ludovic SeifertEmail author
  • Dominic Orth
  • Chris Button
  • Eric Brymer
  • Keith Davids


Uncertainty in extreme sports performance environments, like rock and ice climbing, provides considerable psycho-emotional and physiological demands which challenge the acquisition of perceptual–motor skills. An ecological dynamics theoretical framework adopts concepts and tools of nonlinear dynamics and ecological psychology to investigate and model the relationships that emerge in extreme sports between athletes and their performance environments. In this relation, the interactions of athletes with key objects, surfaces, events and significant others during a sport like climbing emerge from interdependent personal, task and environmental constraints on performance. Performance behaviours emerge through the continuous and active exploration of environmental properties by individual athletes. Properties of rock cliffs, icefalls and mountains provide a high level of uncertainty due to continuous weather-driven changes. Their unpredictability signifies that performance may be considered as an ongoing coadaptation of climber’s behaviours to dynamically changing, interacting constraints, individually perceived and encountered. In this chapter, we consider the continuous interactions between climbers and their environment to understand how they can be coached to perceive key environmental properties when climbing and adapt their behaviours towards achieving performance goals.


Ecological dynamics Climbing Movement variability Affordances Degeneracy Skill acquisition Expertise Representative design 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ludovic Seifert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominic Orth
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chris Button
    • 3
  • Eric Brymer
    • 2
  • Keith Davids
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Sport SciencesCentre d’Etude des Transformations des Activités Physiques et Sportives (CETAPS) – EA 3832, University of RouenMont-Saint-AignanFrance
  2. 2.School of Exercise & Nutrition ScienceQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  4. 4.Centre for Sports Engineering ResearchSheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK
  5. 5.Sport and Health SciencesFiDiPro Programme, University of JyväskyläJyväskylänFinland

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