The effect of knowledge on decision making and performance of educable mentally handicapped (EMH) adolescents was studied in a simulated table tennis situation. In two experiments, knowledge about where the ball would land on the table was manipulated. The position the players selected to return the ball was affected by the knowledge (uncertainty) associated with its future landing location. Depending upon the degree of uncertainty, results indicated the players used (a) a total preparation for one particular event strategy, (b) a partial preparation for one particular event strategy, or (c) a no-preparation for one particular event strategy. Further, knowledge about the ball’s future landing location affected the decision about the type of stroke to use and had a minimal effect on the number of balls hit. Overall, these results demonstrate an intricate relationship between knowledge, decision making, and performance in a simulated racket sport by EMH adolescents.
Request reprints from Marcel Bouffard, Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H9.