Volleyball players and nonplayers were compared for speed and accuracy of performance in a task involving detecting the presence of a volleyball in a rapidly presented slide of a volleyball situation. The volleyball situations depicted both game action and nongame events, for example, timeouts and warm-ups. Players and nonplayers did not differ in accuracy of response, but players were much faster in responding for both game and nongame slides. Further experiments showed that volleyball players' speed of response in ball detection was not a function of a simple athlete-nonathlete difference, nor of volleyball players' being fast at visual search in a nonvolleyball environment. The perceptual skill shown by volleyball players in this series of experiments is best described as a rapid visual search specific to the ball as target.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the University of Waterloo Research Grant fund, the National Research Council of Canada, and the Department of Health and Welfare Canada, Fitness and Amateur Sport Branch. We would like to thank the Canadian Volleyball Association and the Ontario Volleyball Association for their cooperation and interest and the coaches and players who acted as subjects for their time. Special thanks to Pat Davis and the University of Waterloo Volleyball Athenas 1975, 1976, 1977, who have been particularly patient. We acknowledge as well the contributions of Douglas Baird who took the photographs used as stimuli, and Kevin Munhall, Don Valerio, and Melanie Rodney who tested subjects for hours. Reprint requests should be sent to F. Allard, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1.