The Effect of Prior Tennis Experience on Wheelchair Tennis Players’ Visual Search

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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The purpose of this study was to examine whether prior biped tennis playing experience results in different visual search strategies compared with no prior biped playing experience. A total of 32 wheelchair (WC) tennis players, 17 males and 15 females, ranked between 1 and 16 on the International Tennis Federation rankings participated in this study. Half the players had prior experience playing tennis as a biped player, and half had no prior experience in biped tennis. The athletes viewed 18 different serves from an expert WC player while their gaze was monitored using eye tracking. Results revealed significant differences between the groups in fixation duration and number of fixations. Differences were also found in fixation locations and durations across biomechanical phases of the serve. The WC only players had more fixations for shorter periods than did WC with biped players in the ritual phase. In the preparatory and execution phases, however, the WC only players had fewer fixations for longer duration than the WC with biped players. Results are discussed in terms of long-term memory structures, learning, and considerations when coaching and training WC tennis players.

Hunfalvay was with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, at the time the research was conducted. Murray is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville NC.

Hunfalvay (melissa@righteye.com) is corresponding author.
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