Anticipation skill in a real-world task: measurement, training, and transfer in tennis

A. Mark Williams, Paul Ward, John M. Knowles, Nicholas Smeeton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anticipation skill in tennis was examined using realistic film simulations, movement-based response measures, and a portable eye movement recording system. The 8 skilled players (mean age 23 yrs) were faster than their 8 less skilled counterparts (mean age 27.2 yrs) in anticipating the direction of opponents' tennis strokes, with this superior performance being based, at least in part, on more effective visual search behaviors. The processes mediating superior performance were then modeled in groups of recreational tennis players using video simulation, instruction, and feedback. Players who received perceptual training improved their performance on laboratory- and field-based tests of anticipation when compared with matched placebo and control groups that did not receive any instruction regarding expert performance strategies. The approach used may have practical utility in a variety of performance contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

This article is published in Journal of Experimental Psychology / Applied and is the property of American Psychological Association


  • tennise coaching
  • training
  • perceptual skills
  • sports psychology


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