The effect of visuo-motor behavioral rehearsal (VMBR) training on tennis service performance during a tournament was investigated with 14 male tennis players. Seven participants were trained in relaxation I0 days before a major tournament, and then given a. relaxation and visualization audiocassette tape to use on a daily basis prior to the tournament. The visualization part of the tape led them to imagine themselves performing in their first tournament match, and guided them in repetitive practice on their serves. Seven other participants also competed in the tournament but did not receive the VMBR training. The higher ability training group achieved a marginally significant improvement in their percentage of good first serves, while the lower ability training group declined in their accuracy. Overall performance, as measured by their ratio of winners to errors, also favored the higher ability training group. Possible explanations of the results are discussed in terms of the interaction between the training program and the type of performer.
This research was supported in part by Grant SPI7827694 from the National Science Foundation. The assistance of student researchers John Hundley and Irma Rodriguez in conducting the study, and Steve Prasser in preparing the audiotape, is gratefully acknowledged. Reprint requests to be sent to Richard Noel, Department of Psychology, California State College, Bakersfield, CA 93309.