Objective: To determine whether the provision of comparative performance feedback during 4 km track cycling affects completion time.
Design: Five highly trained male cyclists first performed a baseline 4 km TT (BL) on a velodrome track, followed by two further randomised 4 km TTs, during which riders received either correct (COR) or non-contingent (FAL) feedback based on their BL performance.
Results: Participants completed the COR TT in a significantly faster time (t4 = -3.10, p < 0.05) than the FAL TT (341 ± 8 s vs. 350 ± 12 s). Over the TTs a significant difference in mean speed was apparent between the two conditions (F15, 60 = 1.95, p < 0.05) on the second (t4 = 4.71, p < 0.05), fifteenth (t4= 3.45, p < 0.05) and final lap (t4 = 3.30, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The significant difference in completion time and pacing strategy between the two conditions suggests that accurate, comparative performance feedback is beneficial to performance, especially during the start and end of an exercise bout. The results support the previously unfounded assumption that performance feedback is advantageous during exercise and highlights the importance of an athlete’s support team during an event.