Changes in Cognitive Strategies and Motor Skill in Tennis

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Oklahoma
  • 2 University of South Carolina
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This study examined changes in cognitive and motor skill aspects of tennis performance in adult novices as the result of two types of instruction. In Experiment 1, subjects received instruction in motor skills and declarative knowledge followed by the introduction and integration of tennis strategies. In Experiment 2, subjects received declarative and strategic knowledge and minimal skill instruction followed by an emphasis on refining knowledge and skill in game situations. A knowledge test, skills tests, and actual game play (control, decision, and execution components of performance) were analyzed at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. Cognitive components increased concurrently with skill improvement when instruction was skill oriented. However, improvements in motor skill components did not occur in Experiment 2 until integration of skill instruction. These findings suggest that, without direct instruction, changes in cognitive components (accuracy of decisions) are more easily developed than motor components.

Sue L. McPherson is with the Department of BPER» University of Oklahoma, 1401 Asp Avenue, Norman, OK 73019. Karen E. French is with the Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

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