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This study examined the effect of tennis playing on the coincidence timing (CT) of older adults. Young, younger-old and older-old (20–30, 60–69, and 70–79 years old, respectively) tennis players and nonplayers were asked to synchronize a simple response (pressing a button) with the arrival of a moving stimulus at a target. Results showed that the older tennis players responded with a slight bias similar to that of the young players. Two experiments were conducted to determine whether the elimination of age effects through tennis playing was a result of maintaining basic perceptuomotor and perceptual processes or of some possible compensation strategy. The results revealed that the age-related increase in the visuomotor delay was significantly correlated with CT performance in older nonplayers but not in older tennis players. These results suggest that playing tennis is beneficial to older adults, insofar as they remained as accurate as younger ones despite less efficient perceptuomotor processes. This supports the compensation hypothesis.
Lobjois is with the Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Sécurité, 94114 Arcueil, France. Benguigui and Bertsch are with the Centre de Recherche en Sciences du Sport, University of Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.