The Relative Effectiveness of Various Instructional Approaches in Developing Anticipation Skill

Nicholas Smeeton, A.M. Williams, N.J. Hodges, P. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relative effectiveness of explicit instruction, guided discovery, and discovery learning techniques in enhancing anticipation skill in young, intermediate-level tennis players was examined. Performance was assessed pre- and postintervention, during acquisition, and under transfer conditions designed to elicit anxiety through the use of laboratory and on-court measures. The 3 intervention groups improved from pre- to posttest compared with a control group (n = 8), highlighting the benefits of perceptual-cognitive training. Participants in the explicit (n = 8) and guided discovery (n = 10) groups improved their performance during acquisition at a faster rate than did the discovery learning (n = 7) group. However, the explicit group showed a significant decrement in performance when tested under anxiety provoking conditions compared with the guided discovery and discovery learning groups. Although training facilitated anticipation skill, irrespective of the type of instruction used in this experiment, guided discovery methods are recommended for expediency in learning and resilience under pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology Applied
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • sports psychology
  • instructional techniques
  • anticipation


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