The visual search in service return in table tennis  [presentation, pdf, 734 kB]

Bianchi B., Pin A., Righi G., Gherzil A., Agostini T.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Trieste, Italy

This work analyzes the relationship between visual perception and sports performance. Improved technology in table tennis has decreased the number of hits per rally. For this reason, serves and returns become primarily important (Djokic 2003). According to some studies, ball speed can reach 160 km/h (Major & Lang 2003) and spins can reach 8000 rpm (Ushiyama et al., 2003). On the service return, not only that motor response is very important, but visual selection of significant information at the right time is also important. There are few studies on table tennis. More studies have been conducted in other sports like cricket and squash. A previous study on visual search in table tennis takes advantage of eye movements methodology (Ripoll & Fleurance, 1988, 1989; Rodrigues, Vickers & Williams 2002). According to some authors (Williams & Davis 1997, 1998), this methodology presents a disadvantage in that it does not consider incoming information from the periphery of vision. For these reasons we decided to use temporal occlusion and spatial occlusion methodologies in two experiments. The results show a clear relation between time exposure and athletes' performance.