OTHER PLAYER'S MOVEMENTS PROVIDE THE CLUES ABOUT BALL TRAJECTORY
Fery, Y-A., & Crognier, L. (2001). On the tactical significance of game situations in anticipating ball trajectories in tennis. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 72, 143-149.
Expert tennis players (N = 7) were evaluated to determine what spatiotemporal cues are used to anticipate ball trajectories. Ss had to watch high, moderate, and low tactical significance situations, terminated by a stroke delivered by one player in the direction of the participant. Each S's vision was occluded 100 ms after the stroke and they had to indicate the zone reached at the ball's moment of rebound.
It was shown that it was an opponent's movements before hitting the ball that provided cues to judge how the ball would fly in any of the tactical situations tested.
[Studies that evaluate anticipatory cues without using real-life participants will not adequately reflect the anticipatory mechanisms of humans in sporting activities. For some time now it has been known that in most ball sports, players have to respond and make decisions well before a ball is struck or kicked. Thus, "reading the opponent" is a very viable coaching instruction in fast games where the duration of ball movement is quite short (e.g., cricket, baseball, soccer, tennis, badminton).]
Implication. In games involving balls that fly for a short while, anticipations of flight are based on the preliminary movement patterns of the other player rather than any ball-flight characteristics.
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