The focus of the Human Performance Lab is to investigate the cognitive and psychological factors that influence human performance and motor skill acquisition. Innovative research projects are conducted across a broad and diverse array of sports and motor control topics including examination of the influence of attention on sport performance, the role of perceptual feedback during motor learning, the prevention of choking under pressure, and the relearning of motor skills following a stroke. To explore these topics, the laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art Vicon motion tracking system, which enables real-time analysis of human movement and performance. Additionally, the laboratory is equipped with advanced eye tracking systems for gaze behavior analysis, biofeedback acquisition, and visual occlusion research.

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Research Areas
Influence of Action Effects in the Control of Complex Actions

Humans move in order to bring about desired effects in the environment. It is not surprising then that anticipation of these action effects are also thought to play an important role in the planning and execution of human action. In order to better understand this relationship, we are currently conducting research that is aimed at illuminating how these action-effect relationships can be used to facilitate performance within complex human actions.

Internal and External Focus Effects on Human Performance

In recent years, a considerable amount of research has shown that what one focuses on during skill execution can significantly influence learning and performance on a motor task. Specifically, an external focus (i.e., focus on the effects of the movement on the environment) has been shown to facilitate greater performance accuracy (e.g., Land & Tenenbaum, 2012), reduce attentional/working memory demands, reduce brain and muscle activity, and promote better overall outcome performance. In order to better understand how focus of attention aids motor learning and performance, this line of research examines the conditions and mechanisms underlying the superiority of an external focus.

Enhancing "Feel" in Sports

In sports, the concept of “feel” refers to the accurate interpretation of proprioceptive feedback with respect to the outcome of the movement. For instance, a baseball pitcher with good “feel” knows immediately upon release of the pitch whether the throw is likely to be a strike or not. The development of feel is a key part of motor learning as it allows learners to correct errors and accurately produce intended actions. Currently, we are conducting a series of studies designed to enhance feel, with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of sports training.  

Psychological Skills Training for Police Officers

Law enforcement is considered one of the most stressful and demanding occupations, with officers experiencing disproportionately high rates of suicide, depression, and heart disease. Building off the research on psychological training in sports, research in the Human Performance Laboratory is exploring the impact of psychological skills training on police officers, and developing innovative ways to measure the extent to which mental training improves resiliency and mental well-being.

Research Opportunities

Research opportunities may be available to qualified and well-motivated undergraduate and graduate students. The undergraduate students may earn course-credits through research opportunities (KIN4913 Independent Study, KIN4933 Practicum in Kinesiology Research). The Master’s students may work on a thesis project under the direction of a Kinesiology faculty member. Funding may also be available to assist the research work of undergraduate and graduate students.  Please contact Dr. Land for more details.

  • 6 Vicon T10s + Giganet Motion Analysis System
  • ASL Mobile Eye-XG Eye Tracking Glasses
  • ASL Eye-Trac PC
  • CogLens Visual Occlusion Glasses
  • Thought Technology ProComp2 biofeedback unit w/ skin conductance sensors
  • FlightScope 3D Doppler Launch Monitor
  • 25’ x 16’ Artificial Putting Green
  • Inquisit Psychological Testing Software
  • Polar H10 Heart Monitor

Postal Address

Dr. William Land
University of Texas at San Antonio
Department of Kinesiology (MB 3.418)
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249

Laboratory Visiting Address

University of Texas at San Antonio
Intercollegiate Athletics Building
Room: IAB 2.01.9F
San Antonio, TX 78249

William Land, Ph.D.


William Land, Ph.D.

Associate Professor