I apologize about the clarity of the videos, they were taken with my phone (and it's not an iphone).
In this first video, I had a group of soccer athletes line up in an athletic stance and the only direction I gave was to sprint 10 yards as fast as possible; ALL athletes utilized the "false" step. The next series of 'races' were with the athletes paired-up; this time I directed the faster of the two athletes (athlete is on the right; determined by electronic testing) to NOT "false" step... even though many couldn't help themselves from not doing it (subconscious... and faster). (I also reversed it and had the other athlete try to NOT "false" step, and the same occurred with them being slower of the line... however the phone on my camera did not save that footage for some reason)
In the second video it is much more clear with court lines to determine who crossed the line first. The first 'race', I instructed two volleyball athletes to line up in an athletic stance and race through the cones. Both employed a "false" step. In the next races it is very evident which athlete was instructed to NOT take a false step; the athlete directed NOT to "false" step was slower or struggled neurologically to utilize the directed strategy (or lack thereof in this case), but arguably both occurred.
In both these cases, the athletes only had to focus on 1 option and that was sprinting straight ahead, let alone in a more dynamic, open chaotic environment where the athlete needs to be ready for a multitude of movements. I feel confident to say that I believe almost every athlete of any level would employ the so-called "false" step in this or similar situations... but don't take my word, test it out with other athletes.
Again, just to reinforce yesterday's blog post on "false" stepping, I really believe the athlete has some very effective instinctive hardware that we need to be careful as to how much we tamper with. Some techniques are important to teach and potentially correct, some are not. We need to figure out which 'skills' need work and which to leave alone, and in certain situations, it appears the "false" step should be left alone. As I stated yesterday, too much focus internally can create a tremendous mess.