Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tennis Players' Performance May Affect Perception

------------------------------------------Photo: Reuters--------------------------------------
Newspaper Article Review

The Los Angeles Times on December 02, 2010 reported that the journal Perception released a recent study of tennis players and their perception of ball speed and net height.

In this very interesting study, Purdue University researchers Jessica Witt and Mila Sugovic concluded that tennis players may actually be seeing the ball move slower and the net height lower if they are playing well.

In other words, a players' performance level might be affecting - indeed even altering - their visual judgment on the court.

In the study, 36 male and female tennis players at various play levels were tested on perception of ball speed and net height. They hit tennis balls fed by an automatic ball machine at various speeds and spins, and were asked about their perceptual judgments.

When a player hit a ball in-bounds, he or she judged the ball to be moving slower and the net height to be lower. Conversely, when the player hit the ball out-of-bounds, he or she estimated the same ball to be moving faster and the net height to be higher.

These study results may offer some support for the old adage that a player "in the zone" appears to see the ball moving slower and also appears to see the ball as bigger.

Thus, visual perception may be not a fixed or static characteristic. Rather, it may be a moving concept, or a sliding scale - altered by how well we are playing.

The better our performance, the better our perception skills - and therefore the better yet we perform and so on.

Best, Gary

For more:
Tennis players' performance may affect how they perceive ball speed and net height, by Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times, December 02, 2010

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