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The purpose of the study was to determine whether multidimensional perceptual-cognitive skills training, including situational awareness, anticipation, and decision making, improves on-court performance in older adults when compared with a physical training program, including stroke and footwork development. Senior tennis players (N = 27) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: perceptual-cognitive skills training, technique-footwork training, or no training. Results indicated that participants receiving perceptual-cognitive skills training had significantly faster response speeds, higher percentage of accurate responses, and higher percentage of performance decision making in posttest match situations. Findings provide clear evidence that perceptual-cognitive skills can be trained in aged individuals. Implications and suggestions for future research are offered.
The authors are with the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.