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Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 55 (2017): Issue 1 (January 2017)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

17 Articles

Racket Sports

Open Access

A Comparison of Serve Speed and Motor Coordination between Elite and Club Level Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 171 - 176

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the serve speed and motor coordination of elite and club level junior tennis players aged 11-14 years. Participants (n=35) were assigned to one of the two groups according to their experience, weekly training volume and competition level. Serve speed was assessed with a sports radar gun. Motor coordination was evaluated by means of the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder. The main results revealed that serve speed and motor coordination performance levels of the elite group were significantly higher than those of the club group. This study emphasized the importance of early participation and training intensity, which can play an important role in enhancement of serve speed and motor coordination.

Keywords

  • serve speed
  • motor coordination
  • tennis
Open Access

Game Performance and Length of Rally in Professional Padel Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 161 - 169

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to analyse differences in rally length considering attack effectiveness, a players’ location and a game outcome in professional padel players. A total of 1527 rallies from 10 male matches of the 2013 Masters Finals of the World Padel Tour were registered through systematic observation. Data treatment included non-parametric mean comparisons (Mann-Withney and Kruskal-Wallis tests), and association analyses (crosstabs and Chi square analysis). In overall, 40% of unforced errors were made within the first 4 s of the rally, over 50% of points were scored between the 5th and 11th s, and 30% of forced errors occurred after the 11th –s of the rally. Hence, the ability to score in rallies of over 11 s duration and not making unforced errors within the first 4 s contributed to the rally outcome. More specifically, winners played longer rallies compared to losers (10.42 ± 7.77 s vs. 8.42 ± 6.43 s); particularly at the net, when scoring from the baseline (11.04 ± 7.64 s vs. 8.90 ± 5.41 s) and making forced (8.86 ± 7.44 s vs. 6.86 ± 6.24 s) and unforced errors (11.91 ± 9.47 s vs. 8.33 ± 6.92 s). Such knowledge may have implications in the design and structure of specific training programmes for padel players according to competition requirements.

Keywords

  • racket sports
  • match analysis
  • paddle-tennis
  • performance analysis
Open Access

Assessing Cognitive Performance in Badminton Players: A Reproducibility and Validity Study

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 149 - 159

Abstract

Abstract

Fast reaction and good inhibitory control are associated with elite sports performance. To evaluate the reproducibility and validity of a newly developed Badminton Reaction Inhibition Test (BRIT), fifteen elite (25 ± 4 years) and nine non-elite (24 ± 4 years) Dutch male badminton players participated in the study. The BRIT measured four components: domain-general reaction time, badminton-specific reaction time, domain-general inhibitory control and badminton-specific inhibitory control. Five participants were retested within three weeks on the badminton-specific components. Reproducibility was acceptable for badminton-specific reaction time (ICC = 0.626, CV = 6%) and for badminton-specific inhibitory control (ICC = 0.317, CV = 13%). Good construct validity was shown for badminton-specific reaction time discriminating between elite and non-elite players (F = 6.650, p < 0.05). Elite players did not outscore non-elite players on domain-general reaction time nor on both components of inhibitory control (p > 0.05). Concurrent validity for domain-general reaction time was good, as it was associated with a national ranking for elite (p = 0.70, p < 0.01) and non-elite (p = 0.70, p < 0.05) players. No relationship was found between the national ranking and badminton-specific reaction time, nor both components of inhibitory control (p > 0.05). In conclusion, reproducibility and validity of inhibitory control assessment was not confirmed, however, the BRIT appears a reproducible and valid measure of reaction time in badminton players. Reaction time measured with the BRIT may provide input for training programs aiming to improve badminton players’ performance.

Key words

  • racquet sports
  • processing speed
  • reaction time
  • inhibitory control
  • elite athletes
Open Access

Mental Toughness in Talented Youth Tennis Players: A Comparison Between on-Court Observations and a Self-Reported Measure

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 139 - 148

Abstract

Abstract

In tennis, mental toughness is often considered highly important in achieving the elite level. The current study is the first to examine behavioural expressions of mental toughness on the court and their relationships with self-reported measures. Based on the input of five experienced tennis coaches of junior tennis players and behaviours used in previous studies, we developed a taxonomy consisting of six positive behaviours and ten negative ones. To investigate the relationship between these on-court behaviours of mental toughness and how the players rated their own mental toughness, emotional control in particular, six talented tennis players (aged 10-13) were recorded during tennis matches and filled out the self-reported measure of mental toughness (MTQ48). The intra- and inter-rater reliability of the taxonomy was high. With regard to the relationships between on-court behaviours and self-reported mental toughness (total score and subscale emotional control), results revealed no significant correlations between the ratios of positive and negative behaviours (range r = -0.49 - 0.11, p > 0.05) or between the variability of negative behaviours (r = 0.54 & r = 0.10, p > 0.05) and the self-reported measure. However, interestingly, we found negative correlations between the variability of positive behaviours and self-reported mental toughness (r = -0.93 & r = -0.84, ρ < 0.05). These results indicate that variability in on-court behaviours provides interesting information about tennis players’ mental toughness, more specifically on the (in)stability of their psychological state during a match.

Keywords

  • emotional control
  • behavioural expressions
  • variability
  • performance
  • youth sports
Open Access

The Dutch Technical-Tactical Tennis Test (D4T) for Talent Identification and Development: Psychometric Characteristics

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 127 - 138

Abstract

Abstract

This study examined the test-retest reliability, validity and feasibility of the newly developed Dutch Technical-Tactical Tennis Test (D4T). This new test is relevant for talent identification and development in tennis. Thirty-two youth male tennis players (age 13.4 ± 0.5) were classified as elite (n = 15) or sub-elite (n = 17) according to their position on the national youth ranking list under 15 years (cut-off rank 50) in the Netherlands. Games, rallies and different tactical situations (i.e. offensive, neutral and defensive) were simulated with a ball machine. Players had to return 72 balls to predetermined target areas. Stroke quality was recorded based on ball velocity and accuracy (VA-index), as well as percentage errors. Test-retest reliability was assessed by comparing differences between the first and second test-session (n = 10). An intraclass-correlation coefficient of .78 for the VA-index was found (p < .05), indicating excellent test-retest reliability. Independent t-tests revealed that elite players outscored sub-elite players for the VA-index, ball velocity, accuracy and percentage errors (p < .05), supporting good validity. Furthermore, a high correlation was found between the VA-index and individual positions on the youth ranking list (p = -.75; p < .001). The assessment of feasibility indicated that the D4T was applicable for instructors and coaches. In conclusion, the D4T was shown to be a reliable, valid and feasible test to measure technical-tactical characteristics of tennis performance in youth players.

Keywords

  • racquet sports
  • field test
  • performance
  • ball velocity
  • accuracy
  • youth sports
Open Access

Differences in Movement Speed Before and After a Split-Step Between Professional and Junior Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 117 - 125

Abstract

Abstract

This study investigated tennis players’ speed before, during and after the split-step, deceleration before and acceleration after the split-step in four different stroke groups in three age categories. Seven male professional, eleven male and ten female junior tennis players were recorded with video cameras at official tournaments. Using the SAGIT system, we gathered data on 8,545 split-steps. Tennis players performed a split-step in 82.9% of cases. A tennis player’s speed, deceleration and acceleration were measured 0.2 s before and after the split-step. Differences between categories and stroke groups for each of the five variables were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA. The differences between the groups of players were generally much higher in the speed before, during and after the split-step than in the deceleration before and acceleration after the split-step. Most of these differences were observed between the various stroke groups. These results suggest that players use three types of movement while performing a split-step. In the first type, which is typical of serving and returning, the speed before, during and after the split-step is lower (0.55 to 1.2 m/s). The second type of movement is characteristic of baseline strokes where tennis players achieve higher speed than in the first type (0.7 to 1.66 m/s). The third type occurs in strokes where a tennis player is moving or already at the net (0.78 to 1.9 m/s). Movement in tennis is an area that requires constant development in terms of designing and upgrading movement patterns, increasing speed and practice in specific game situations.

Keywords

  • tennis
  • movement analysis
  • game situations
Open Access

Reliability and Factorial Validity of Non-Specific and Tennis-Specific Pre-Planned Agility Tests; Preliminary Analysis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 107 - 116

Abstract

Abstract

Agility is an important quality in tennis, yet there is an evident lack of studies focussing on the applicability of tennis-specific agility performances and comparing them to equivalent non-specific agility performances. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and factorial validity of three tests of pre-planned agility, performed in specific (with a tennis racquet) and non-specific (without a tennis racquet) conditions. The sample consisted of 33 tennis players (13 males and 20 females; age: 18.3 ± 1.1 years and 18.6 ± 1.3 years; body height: 185.4 ± 51 cm and 169.3 ± 4.2 cm, 74.0 ± 4.4 kg and 61.2 ± 3.1 kg, respectively). The variables comprised three agility tests: a 20-yard test, a T-test and the Illinois test, all performed in both specific and non-specific conditions. Between-subject and within-subject reliability were found to be high (Cronbach Alpha: 0.93 to 0.98; Coefficient of Variation: 3 to 8%), with better within-subject reliability and stability of the measurement for specific tests. Pearson’s product moment correlations between the non-specific and specific agility performances were high (r ≥0.84), while factor analysis extracted only one significant latent dimension on the basis of the Guttman-Kaiser criterion. The results of the 20-yard test were better when the test was conducted in the specific conditions (t-test = 2.66; p < 0.05). For the Illinois test, superior results were recorded in the non-specific conditions (t-test = 2.96; p < 0.05), which can be explained by the test duration (about 20 s) and non-specific locomotion forms such as rotational movements. Considering the findings of the present study, when testing tennis-specific pre-planned agility, we suggest using tests of short duration (less than 10 s) and sport-specific types of locomotion.

Keywords

  • between-subject reliability
  • within-subject reliability
  • factor analysis
  • change of direction speed
  • applicability
Open Access

Split-Step Timing of Professional and Junior Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 97 - 105

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine the timing of a split-step in three categories of tennis players in four groups of strokes. Subjects were divided into three groups: male and female junior, and male professional tennis players. During two tournaments, all matches were recorded with two fixed video cameras. For every stroke, the timing of the split-step between the opponent’s impact point when hitting the ball and the player’s split-step was measured. A two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the differences between groups of strokes, players and the interaction Player x Stroke Group. A Tukey post-hoc test was employed to determine specific differences. The results revealed differences between players in detecting the opponent’s movement, stroke and ball flight, which were reflected in different split-step timings. Each tennis player has his/her own timing mechanism which they adapt to various game situations. Response times differ significantly depending on the game situation. On average, they are the lowest in the serve, and then gradually rise from the return of the serve to baseline game, reaching the highest values in specific game situations. Players react faster in the first serve than in the second one and in the return of the serve, the response times are lower after the return of the second serve

Keywords

  • tennis
  • movement
  • game situations
Open Access

A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Effects of Competitive State Anxiety on Serve Kinematics in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 83 - 95

Abstract

Abstract

Displays of anxiety in table tennis were assessed through subjective (a self-report questionnaire), physiological (heart-rate variability) and kinematic variables. Using a within-group crossover design, 9 university-level table tennis players completed a series of serves under low- and high-anxiety conditions. Anxiety manipulation was achieved through the introduction of a national standard table tennis player, known to the participants, to receive serves in the high-anxiety condition, whilst serves were received by no opponent in the low-anxiety condition. Automated motion capture systems consisting of high-speed 3D motion cameras and analytical software (QUALISYS) determined the subject’s movement kinematics: bat face angle (degrees) and serve routine duration (s). Self-reported state anxiety (MRF-Likert) and heart rate measurements were collected to examine changes between conditions. Contrary to the hypothesis, bat face angles did not change significantly between anxiety conditions (F (1.8) = 2.791, p = 0.133) and movement times were faster in the high-anxiety condition. In light of these findings, research into other facets of movement behaviour must be analysed to gain further understanding of the effects of anxiety on performance, which remain unclear.

Keywords

  • sports psychology
  • anxiety
  • athlete
  • racquet sports
Open Access

The Relationship Between Stress and Coping in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 75 - 81

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between cognitive competitive anxiety intensity and coping strategies in table tennis players. One hundred and two (102) US competitive table tennis players of age range from 10 to 60 filled out a Revised Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2R, Cox et al., 2003) at least 30 minutes before the start of their tournament match and a Modified Cope questionnaire (MCOPE; Crocker and Graham, 1995) 15 minutes after they finished their match. Our study found significant differences between low and high cognitive competitive anxiety groups with regard to the use of coping strategies. The high cognitive competitive anxiety intensity group used significantly more behavioral disengagement (avoidance coping, p ≤ 0.05), denial coping strategies (emotion focused coping, p ≤ 0.01) compared to the low cognitive anxiety intensity group. Our results suggest that there is some connection between anxiety intensity and coping strategies. If the cognitive anxiety intensity (for example, intensity from worrying) is very high, an athlete might be more likely to use avoidance coping (such as behavioral disengagement) and emotion-focused coping (such as denial and venting of emotions) compared to athletes who have low cognitive competitive anxiety. Furthermore, gender differences in cognitive anxiety and direction were found. Confidence management techniques such as positive self-talk, breathing techniques and visualization should be taught to athletes to assist them in coping with their competitive anxiety better and to enhance their performance.

Keywords

  • avoidance
  • competitive cognitive anxiety
  • coping strategies
  • emotion focused coping strategies
  • mental toughness
  • table tennis
Open Access

Anger Management - Evaluation of a Cognitive-Behavioral Training Program for Table Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 65 - 73

Abstract

Abstract

Based on a systematic review of the literature on anger and anger management in sport, there is evidence that anger might be dysfunctional, especially in sports requiring selective attention and fine-tuned motor skills. The research literature suggests that cognitive-behavioral intervention programs can be fruitful in helping athletes to understand and control dysfunctional anger. Therefore, the main goal of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief training program for table tennis players in cognitive-behavioral anger management that aimed at changing their noneffective anger reactions. The sample comprised 18 young competitive table tennis players (age range from 16 to 22 years) divided randomly into a treatment (n = 10) and a control group (n = 8). A trained group leader instructed the treatment group. Six sessions were held over a period of two months. Cognitive-relaxation coping skills associated with social skills of subjects from the treatment group were compared to no-treatment controls. Psychological measurements (i.e., self-reports on anger) were applied before, during and after treatment as well as in a follow-up session. The one-year follow-up session revealed that, in contrast to the control group, the treatment group showed a significant reduction in outwardly negative anger expression as well as anger reactions specific to table tennis. Despite limitations inherent in the research design, the training program was deemed effective.

Keywords

  • anger management
  • evaluation
  • training program
  • table tennis
Open Access

Extraction of Knowledge from the Topographic Attentive Mapping Network and its Application in Skill Analysis of Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 39 - 54

Abstract

Abstract

The Topographic Attentive Mapping (TAM) network is a biologically-inspired classifier that bears similarities to the human visual system. In case of wrong classification during training, an attentional top-down signal modulates synaptic weights in intermediate layers to reduce the difference between the desired output and the classifier’s output. When used in a TAM network, the proposed pruning algorithm improves classification accuracy and allows extracting knowledge as represented by the network structure. In this paper, sport technique evaluation of motion analysis modelled by the TAM network was discussed. The trajectory pattern of forehand strokes of table tennis players was analyzed with nine sensor markers attached to the right upper arm of players. With the TAM network, input attributes and technique rules were extracted in order to classify the skill level of players of table tennis from the sensor data. In addition, differences between the elite player, middle level player and beginner were clarified; furthermore, we discussed how to improve skills specific to table tennis from the view of data analysis.

Key words

  • Neural Networks
  • Fuzzy Logic
  • knowledge extraction
  • skill level
  • table tennis
Open Access

Effect of Changing Table Tennis Ball Material from Celluloid to Plastic on the Post-Collision Ball Trajectory

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 29 - 38

Abstract

Abstract

The official material used in table tennis balls was changed from celluloid to plastic, a material free of celluloid, in 2014. The purpose of this study was to understand the differences and similarities in the two types of ball materials by comparing their behavior upon collision with a table. The behavior of the balls before and after collision with a table, at various initial speeds ranging from 15 to 115 km/h, was captured using high-speed cameras. Velocities and spin rates before collision and velocities after collision were computed to calculate the coefficients of restitution and friction. Based on the computed variables, the post-collision trajectories of both balls were calculated by integrating the equation of motion of the ball for simulated service, smash and drive conditions with respect to time. The coefficients of restitution were higher for the plastic balls than the celluloid ones when the initial vertical velocities were higher. The coefficients of friction were higher for plastic balls when the initial horizontal contact point velocities were slower. Because of the differences in the material characteristics, the plastic ball trajectories of services with backspin and drives with great topspin were expected to be different from those of celluloid balls. Since the extent of differences between the two ball types varied depending on the initial conditions, testing at various initial conditions was suggested for comparing and understanding the characteristics of the balls.

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • coefficient of restitution
  • coefficient of friction
Open Access

Training Level Does Not Affect Auditory Perception of The Magnitude of Ball Spin in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 19 - 27

Abstract

Abstract

Identifying the trajectory and spin of the ball with speed and accuracy is critical for good performance in table tennis. The aim of this study was to analyze the ability of table tennis players presenting different levels of training/experience to identify the magnitude of the ball spin from the sound produced when the racket hit the ball. Four types of “forehand” contact sounds were collected in the laboratory, defined as: Fast Spin (spinning ball forward at 140 r/s); Medium Spin (105 r/s); Slow Spin (84 r/s); and Flat Hit (less than 60 r/s). Thirty-four table tennis players of both sexes (24 men and 10 women) aged 18-40 years listened to the sounds and tried to identify the magnitude of the ball spin. The results revealed that in 50.9% of the cases the table tennis players were able to identify the ball spin and the observed number of correct answers (10.2) was significantly higher (χ2 = 270.4, p <0.05) than the number of correct answers that could occur by chance. On the other hand, the results did not show any relationship between the level of training/experience and auditory perception of the ball spin. This indicates that auditory information contributes to identification of the magnitude of the ball spin, however, it also reveals that, in table tennis, the level of training does not interfere with the auditory perception of the ball spin.

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • ball rotation
  • auditory information
  • experience level
Open Access

A Shot Number Based Approach to Performance Analysis in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 7 - 18

Abstract

Abstract

The current study proposes a novel approach that improves the conventional performance analysis in table tennis by introducing the concept of frequency, or the number of shots, of each shot number. The improvements over the conventional method are as follows: better accuracy of the evaluation of skills and tactics of players, additional insights into scoring and returning skills and ease of understanding the results with a single criterion. The performance analysis of matches played at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London was conducted using the proposed method. The results showed some effects of the shot number and gender differences in table tennis. Furthermore, comparisons were made between Chinese players and players from other countries, what threw light on the skills and tactics of the Chinese players. The present findings demonstrate that the proposed method provides useful information and has some advantages over the conventional method.

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • performance analysis
  • effectiveness
Open Access

The fastest ball games from the viewpoint of science

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 5 - 5

Abstract

Section III - Sports Training

Open Access

Influence of Game Evolution and the Phase of Competition on Temporal Game Structure in High-Level Table Tennis Tournaments

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 55 - 63

Abstract

Abstract

The aims of this study were: a) to investigate the game temporal structure in high-level table tennis competitions; b) to verify the influence of game evolution in international competitions from 2009 to 2012 (World Table Tennis Championships and the Olympic Games) on game temporal structure; c) to compare game temporal structure according to the phase of competition. Comparisons between the three international tournaments demonstrated that rally duration decreased significantly (p < 0.05) during the analyzed period (2009-2012), while the rest time increased (p < 0.05) from 2009 to 2011, but decreased (p < 0.05) from 2011 to 2012. In the competition phase analysis, it was found that rally duration decreased (p < 0.05) in the quarterfinals in relation to the semifinals and finals, while the rest time increased (p < 0.05) from the quarterfinals to semifinals and finals. Based on our findings and previous literature, we concluded that the performance level, game evolution and the competition phase influenced the game temporal structure of table tennis, considering longer rest periods adopted by elite athletes in relation to non-elite athletes, the reduction in rally duration and an increase in rest time over the 2009-2012 period and through the competition phases (quarterfinals to finals).

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • game temporal analysis
  • rally duration
  • international tournaments
17 Articles

Racket Sports

Open Access

A Comparison of Serve Speed and Motor Coordination between Elite and Club Level Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 171 - 176

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the serve speed and motor coordination of elite and club level junior tennis players aged 11-14 years. Participants (n=35) were assigned to one of the two groups according to their experience, weekly training volume and competition level. Serve speed was assessed with a sports radar gun. Motor coordination was evaluated by means of the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder. The main results revealed that serve speed and motor coordination performance levels of the elite group were significantly higher than those of the club group. This study emphasized the importance of early participation and training intensity, which can play an important role in enhancement of serve speed and motor coordination.

Keywords

  • serve speed
  • motor coordination
  • tennis
Open Access

Game Performance and Length of Rally in Professional Padel Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 161 - 169

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to analyse differences in rally length considering attack effectiveness, a players’ location and a game outcome in professional padel players. A total of 1527 rallies from 10 male matches of the 2013 Masters Finals of the World Padel Tour were registered through systematic observation. Data treatment included non-parametric mean comparisons (Mann-Withney and Kruskal-Wallis tests), and association analyses (crosstabs and Chi square analysis). In overall, 40% of unforced errors were made within the first 4 s of the rally, over 50% of points were scored between the 5th and 11th s, and 30% of forced errors occurred after the 11th –s of the rally. Hence, the ability to score in rallies of over 11 s duration and not making unforced errors within the first 4 s contributed to the rally outcome. More specifically, winners played longer rallies compared to losers (10.42 ± 7.77 s vs. 8.42 ± 6.43 s); particularly at the net, when scoring from the baseline (11.04 ± 7.64 s vs. 8.90 ± 5.41 s) and making forced (8.86 ± 7.44 s vs. 6.86 ± 6.24 s) and unforced errors (11.91 ± 9.47 s vs. 8.33 ± 6.92 s). Such knowledge may have implications in the design and structure of specific training programmes for padel players according to competition requirements.

Keywords

  • racket sports
  • match analysis
  • paddle-tennis
  • performance analysis
Open Access

Assessing Cognitive Performance in Badminton Players: A Reproducibility and Validity Study

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 149 - 159

Abstract

Abstract

Fast reaction and good inhibitory control are associated with elite sports performance. To evaluate the reproducibility and validity of a newly developed Badminton Reaction Inhibition Test (BRIT), fifteen elite (25 ± 4 years) and nine non-elite (24 ± 4 years) Dutch male badminton players participated in the study. The BRIT measured four components: domain-general reaction time, badminton-specific reaction time, domain-general inhibitory control and badminton-specific inhibitory control. Five participants were retested within three weeks on the badminton-specific components. Reproducibility was acceptable for badminton-specific reaction time (ICC = 0.626, CV = 6%) and for badminton-specific inhibitory control (ICC = 0.317, CV = 13%). Good construct validity was shown for badminton-specific reaction time discriminating between elite and non-elite players (F = 6.650, p < 0.05). Elite players did not outscore non-elite players on domain-general reaction time nor on both components of inhibitory control (p > 0.05). Concurrent validity for domain-general reaction time was good, as it was associated with a national ranking for elite (p = 0.70, p < 0.01) and non-elite (p = 0.70, p < 0.05) players. No relationship was found between the national ranking and badminton-specific reaction time, nor both components of inhibitory control (p > 0.05). In conclusion, reproducibility and validity of inhibitory control assessment was not confirmed, however, the BRIT appears a reproducible and valid measure of reaction time in badminton players. Reaction time measured with the BRIT may provide input for training programs aiming to improve badminton players’ performance.

Key words

  • racquet sports
  • processing speed
  • reaction time
  • inhibitory control
  • elite athletes
Open Access

Mental Toughness in Talented Youth Tennis Players: A Comparison Between on-Court Observations and a Self-Reported Measure

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 139 - 148

Abstract

Abstract

In tennis, mental toughness is often considered highly important in achieving the elite level. The current study is the first to examine behavioural expressions of mental toughness on the court and their relationships with self-reported measures. Based on the input of five experienced tennis coaches of junior tennis players and behaviours used in previous studies, we developed a taxonomy consisting of six positive behaviours and ten negative ones. To investigate the relationship between these on-court behaviours of mental toughness and how the players rated their own mental toughness, emotional control in particular, six talented tennis players (aged 10-13) were recorded during tennis matches and filled out the self-reported measure of mental toughness (MTQ48). The intra- and inter-rater reliability of the taxonomy was high. With regard to the relationships between on-court behaviours and self-reported mental toughness (total score and subscale emotional control), results revealed no significant correlations between the ratios of positive and negative behaviours (range r = -0.49 - 0.11, p > 0.05) or between the variability of negative behaviours (r = 0.54 & r = 0.10, p > 0.05) and the self-reported measure. However, interestingly, we found negative correlations between the variability of positive behaviours and self-reported mental toughness (r = -0.93 & r = -0.84, ρ < 0.05). These results indicate that variability in on-court behaviours provides interesting information about tennis players’ mental toughness, more specifically on the (in)stability of their psychological state during a match.

Keywords

  • emotional control
  • behavioural expressions
  • variability
  • performance
  • youth sports
Open Access

The Dutch Technical-Tactical Tennis Test (D4T) for Talent Identification and Development: Psychometric Characteristics

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 127 - 138

Abstract

Abstract

This study examined the test-retest reliability, validity and feasibility of the newly developed Dutch Technical-Tactical Tennis Test (D4T). This new test is relevant for talent identification and development in tennis. Thirty-two youth male tennis players (age 13.4 ± 0.5) were classified as elite (n = 15) or sub-elite (n = 17) according to their position on the national youth ranking list under 15 years (cut-off rank 50) in the Netherlands. Games, rallies and different tactical situations (i.e. offensive, neutral and defensive) were simulated with a ball machine. Players had to return 72 balls to predetermined target areas. Stroke quality was recorded based on ball velocity and accuracy (VA-index), as well as percentage errors. Test-retest reliability was assessed by comparing differences between the first and second test-session (n = 10). An intraclass-correlation coefficient of .78 for the VA-index was found (p < .05), indicating excellent test-retest reliability. Independent t-tests revealed that elite players outscored sub-elite players for the VA-index, ball velocity, accuracy and percentage errors (p < .05), supporting good validity. Furthermore, a high correlation was found between the VA-index and individual positions on the youth ranking list (p = -.75; p < .001). The assessment of feasibility indicated that the D4T was applicable for instructors and coaches. In conclusion, the D4T was shown to be a reliable, valid and feasible test to measure technical-tactical characteristics of tennis performance in youth players.

Keywords

  • racquet sports
  • field test
  • performance
  • ball velocity
  • accuracy
  • youth sports
Open Access

Differences in Movement Speed Before and After a Split-Step Between Professional and Junior Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 117 - 125

Abstract

Abstract

This study investigated tennis players’ speed before, during and after the split-step, deceleration before and acceleration after the split-step in four different stroke groups in three age categories. Seven male professional, eleven male and ten female junior tennis players were recorded with video cameras at official tournaments. Using the SAGIT system, we gathered data on 8,545 split-steps. Tennis players performed a split-step in 82.9% of cases. A tennis player’s speed, deceleration and acceleration were measured 0.2 s before and after the split-step. Differences between categories and stroke groups for each of the five variables were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA. The differences between the groups of players were generally much higher in the speed before, during and after the split-step than in the deceleration before and acceleration after the split-step. Most of these differences were observed between the various stroke groups. These results suggest that players use three types of movement while performing a split-step. In the first type, which is typical of serving and returning, the speed before, during and after the split-step is lower (0.55 to 1.2 m/s). The second type of movement is characteristic of baseline strokes where tennis players achieve higher speed than in the first type (0.7 to 1.66 m/s). The third type occurs in strokes where a tennis player is moving or already at the net (0.78 to 1.9 m/s). Movement in tennis is an area that requires constant development in terms of designing and upgrading movement patterns, increasing speed and practice in specific game situations.

Keywords

  • tennis
  • movement analysis
  • game situations
Open Access

Reliability and Factorial Validity of Non-Specific and Tennis-Specific Pre-Planned Agility Tests; Preliminary Analysis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 107 - 116

Abstract

Abstract

Agility is an important quality in tennis, yet there is an evident lack of studies focussing on the applicability of tennis-specific agility performances and comparing them to equivalent non-specific agility performances. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and factorial validity of three tests of pre-planned agility, performed in specific (with a tennis racquet) and non-specific (without a tennis racquet) conditions. The sample consisted of 33 tennis players (13 males and 20 females; age: 18.3 ± 1.1 years and 18.6 ± 1.3 years; body height: 185.4 ± 51 cm and 169.3 ± 4.2 cm, 74.0 ± 4.4 kg and 61.2 ± 3.1 kg, respectively). The variables comprised three agility tests: a 20-yard test, a T-test and the Illinois test, all performed in both specific and non-specific conditions. Between-subject and within-subject reliability were found to be high (Cronbach Alpha: 0.93 to 0.98; Coefficient of Variation: 3 to 8%), with better within-subject reliability and stability of the measurement for specific tests. Pearson’s product moment correlations between the non-specific and specific agility performances were high (r ≥0.84), while factor analysis extracted only one significant latent dimension on the basis of the Guttman-Kaiser criterion. The results of the 20-yard test were better when the test was conducted in the specific conditions (t-test = 2.66; p < 0.05). For the Illinois test, superior results were recorded in the non-specific conditions (t-test = 2.96; p < 0.05), which can be explained by the test duration (about 20 s) and non-specific locomotion forms such as rotational movements. Considering the findings of the present study, when testing tennis-specific pre-planned agility, we suggest using tests of short duration (less than 10 s) and sport-specific types of locomotion.

Keywords

  • between-subject reliability
  • within-subject reliability
  • factor analysis
  • change of direction speed
  • applicability
Open Access

Split-Step Timing of Professional and Junior Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 97 - 105

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine the timing of a split-step in three categories of tennis players in four groups of strokes. Subjects were divided into three groups: male and female junior, and male professional tennis players. During two tournaments, all matches were recorded with two fixed video cameras. For every stroke, the timing of the split-step between the opponent’s impact point when hitting the ball and the player’s split-step was measured. A two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the differences between groups of strokes, players and the interaction Player x Stroke Group. A Tukey post-hoc test was employed to determine specific differences. The results revealed differences between players in detecting the opponent’s movement, stroke and ball flight, which were reflected in different split-step timings. Each tennis player has his/her own timing mechanism which they adapt to various game situations. Response times differ significantly depending on the game situation. On average, they are the lowest in the serve, and then gradually rise from the return of the serve to baseline game, reaching the highest values in specific game situations. Players react faster in the first serve than in the second one and in the return of the serve, the response times are lower after the return of the second serve

Keywords

  • tennis
  • movement
  • game situations
Open Access

A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Effects of Competitive State Anxiety on Serve Kinematics in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 83 - 95

Abstract

Abstract

Displays of anxiety in table tennis were assessed through subjective (a self-report questionnaire), physiological (heart-rate variability) and kinematic variables. Using a within-group crossover design, 9 university-level table tennis players completed a series of serves under low- and high-anxiety conditions. Anxiety manipulation was achieved through the introduction of a national standard table tennis player, known to the participants, to receive serves in the high-anxiety condition, whilst serves were received by no opponent in the low-anxiety condition. Automated motion capture systems consisting of high-speed 3D motion cameras and analytical software (QUALISYS) determined the subject’s movement kinematics: bat face angle (degrees) and serve routine duration (s). Self-reported state anxiety (MRF-Likert) and heart rate measurements were collected to examine changes between conditions. Contrary to the hypothesis, bat face angles did not change significantly between anxiety conditions (F (1.8) = 2.791, p = 0.133) and movement times were faster in the high-anxiety condition. In light of these findings, research into other facets of movement behaviour must be analysed to gain further understanding of the effects of anxiety on performance, which remain unclear.

Keywords

  • sports psychology
  • anxiety
  • athlete
  • racquet sports
Open Access

The Relationship Between Stress and Coping in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 75 - 81

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between cognitive competitive anxiety intensity and coping strategies in table tennis players. One hundred and two (102) US competitive table tennis players of age range from 10 to 60 filled out a Revised Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2R, Cox et al., 2003) at least 30 minutes before the start of their tournament match and a Modified Cope questionnaire (MCOPE; Crocker and Graham, 1995) 15 minutes after they finished their match. Our study found significant differences between low and high cognitive competitive anxiety groups with regard to the use of coping strategies. The high cognitive competitive anxiety intensity group used significantly more behavioral disengagement (avoidance coping, p ≤ 0.05), denial coping strategies (emotion focused coping, p ≤ 0.01) compared to the low cognitive anxiety intensity group. Our results suggest that there is some connection between anxiety intensity and coping strategies. If the cognitive anxiety intensity (for example, intensity from worrying) is very high, an athlete might be more likely to use avoidance coping (such as behavioral disengagement) and emotion-focused coping (such as denial and venting of emotions) compared to athletes who have low cognitive competitive anxiety. Furthermore, gender differences in cognitive anxiety and direction were found. Confidence management techniques such as positive self-talk, breathing techniques and visualization should be taught to athletes to assist them in coping with their competitive anxiety better and to enhance their performance.

Keywords

  • avoidance
  • competitive cognitive anxiety
  • coping strategies
  • emotion focused coping strategies
  • mental toughness
  • table tennis
Open Access

Anger Management - Evaluation of a Cognitive-Behavioral Training Program for Table Tennis Players

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 65 - 73

Abstract

Abstract

Based on a systematic review of the literature on anger and anger management in sport, there is evidence that anger might be dysfunctional, especially in sports requiring selective attention and fine-tuned motor skills. The research literature suggests that cognitive-behavioral intervention programs can be fruitful in helping athletes to understand and control dysfunctional anger. Therefore, the main goal of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief training program for table tennis players in cognitive-behavioral anger management that aimed at changing their noneffective anger reactions. The sample comprised 18 young competitive table tennis players (age range from 16 to 22 years) divided randomly into a treatment (n = 10) and a control group (n = 8). A trained group leader instructed the treatment group. Six sessions were held over a period of two months. Cognitive-relaxation coping skills associated with social skills of subjects from the treatment group were compared to no-treatment controls. Psychological measurements (i.e., self-reports on anger) were applied before, during and after treatment as well as in a follow-up session. The one-year follow-up session revealed that, in contrast to the control group, the treatment group showed a significant reduction in outwardly negative anger expression as well as anger reactions specific to table tennis. Despite limitations inherent in the research design, the training program was deemed effective.

Keywords

  • anger management
  • evaluation
  • training program
  • table tennis
Open Access

Extraction of Knowledge from the Topographic Attentive Mapping Network and its Application in Skill Analysis of Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 39 - 54

Abstract

Abstract

The Topographic Attentive Mapping (TAM) network is a biologically-inspired classifier that bears similarities to the human visual system. In case of wrong classification during training, an attentional top-down signal modulates synaptic weights in intermediate layers to reduce the difference between the desired output and the classifier’s output. When used in a TAM network, the proposed pruning algorithm improves classification accuracy and allows extracting knowledge as represented by the network structure. In this paper, sport technique evaluation of motion analysis modelled by the TAM network was discussed. The trajectory pattern of forehand strokes of table tennis players was analyzed with nine sensor markers attached to the right upper arm of players. With the TAM network, input attributes and technique rules were extracted in order to classify the skill level of players of table tennis from the sensor data. In addition, differences between the elite player, middle level player and beginner were clarified; furthermore, we discussed how to improve skills specific to table tennis from the view of data analysis.

Key words

  • Neural Networks
  • Fuzzy Logic
  • knowledge extraction
  • skill level
  • table tennis
Open Access

Effect of Changing Table Tennis Ball Material from Celluloid to Plastic on the Post-Collision Ball Trajectory

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 29 - 38

Abstract

Abstract

The official material used in table tennis balls was changed from celluloid to plastic, a material free of celluloid, in 2014. The purpose of this study was to understand the differences and similarities in the two types of ball materials by comparing their behavior upon collision with a table. The behavior of the balls before and after collision with a table, at various initial speeds ranging from 15 to 115 km/h, was captured using high-speed cameras. Velocities and spin rates before collision and velocities after collision were computed to calculate the coefficients of restitution and friction. Based on the computed variables, the post-collision trajectories of both balls were calculated by integrating the equation of motion of the ball for simulated service, smash and drive conditions with respect to time. The coefficients of restitution were higher for the plastic balls than the celluloid ones when the initial vertical velocities were higher. The coefficients of friction were higher for plastic balls when the initial horizontal contact point velocities were slower. Because of the differences in the material characteristics, the plastic ball trajectories of services with backspin and drives with great topspin were expected to be different from those of celluloid balls. Since the extent of differences between the two ball types varied depending on the initial conditions, testing at various initial conditions was suggested for comparing and understanding the characteristics of the balls.

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • coefficient of restitution
  • coefficient of friction
Open Access

Training Level Does Not Affect Auditory Perception of The Magnitude of Ball Spin in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 19 - 27

Abstract

Abstract

Identifying the trajectory and spin of the ball with speed and accuracy is critical for good performance in table tennis. The aim of this study was to analyze the ability of table tennis players presenting different levels of training/experience to identify the magnitude of the ball spin from the sound produced when the racket hit the ball. Four types of “forehand” contact sounds were collected in the laboratory, defined as: Fast Spin (spinning ball forward at 140 r/s); Medium Spin (105 r/s); Slow Spin (84 r/s); and Flat Hit (less than 60 r/s). Thirty-four table tennis players of both sexes (24 men and 10 women) aged 18-40 years listened to the sounds and tried to identify the magnitude of the ball spin. The results revealed that in 50.9% of the cases the table tennis players were able to identify the ball spin and the observed number of correct answers (10.2) was significantly higher (χ2 = 270.4, p <0.05) than the number of correct answers that could occur by chance. On the other hand, the results did not show any relationship between the level of training/experience and auditory perception of the ball spin. This indicates that auditory information contributes to identification of the magnitude of the ball spin, however, it also reveals that, in table tennis, the level of training does not interfere with the auditory perception of the ball spin.

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • ball rotation
  • auditory information
  • experience level
Open Access

A Shot Number Based Approach to Performance Analysis in Table Tennis

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 7 - 18

Abstract

Abstract

The current study proposes a novel approach that improves the conventional performance analysis in table tennis by introducing the concept of frequency, or the number of shots, of each shot number. The improvements over the conventional method are as follows: better accuracy of the evaluation of skills and tactics of players, additional insights into scoring and returning skills and ease of understanding the results with a single criterion. The performance analysis of matches played at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London was conducted using the proposed method. The results showed some effects of the shot number and gender differences in table tennis. Furthermore, comparisons were made between Chinese players and players from other countries, what threw light on the skills and tactics of the Chinese players. The present findings demonstrate that the proposed method provides useful information and has some advantages over the conventional method.

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • performance analysis
  • effectiveness
Open Access

The fastest ball games from the viewpoint of science

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 5 - 5

Abstract

Section III - Sports Training

Open Access

Influence of Game Evolution and the Phase of Competition on Temporal Game Structure in High-Level Table Tennis Tournaments

Published Online: 30 Jan 2017
Page range: 55 - 63

Abstract

Abstract

The aims of this study were: a) to investigate the game temporal structure in high-level table tennis competitions; b) to verify the influence of game evolution in international competitions from 2009 to 2012 (World Table Tennis Championships and the Olympic Games) on game temporal structure; c) to compare game temporal structure according to the phase of competition. Comparisons between the three international tournaments demonstrated that rally duration decreased significantly (p < 0.05) during the analyzed period (2009-2012), while the rest time increased (p < 0.05) from 2009 to 2011, but decreased (p < 0.05) from 2011 to 2012. In the competition phase analysis, it was found that rally duration decreased (p < 0.05) in the quarterfinals in relation to the semifinals and finals, while the rest time increased (p < 0.05) from the quarterfinals to semifinals and finals. Based on our findings and previous literature, we concluded that the performance level, game evolution and the competition phase influenced the game temporal structure of table tennis, considering longer rest periods adopted by elite athletes in relation to non-elite athletes, the reduction in rally duration and an increase in rest time over the 2009-2012 period and through the competition phases (quarterfinals to finals).

Keywords

  • table tennis
  • game temporal analysis
  • rally duration
  • international tournaments

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