Perception and action in playing tennis: The role of the acoustic information in tennis service  

Crescimbeni M., Gherzil A., Murgia M., Pin A., Agostini T.
First author's affiliation: MIS LAB, Department of Psychology, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy

The aim of this study was to assess the importance of acoustic information in playing tennis during the backward service. The theory demonstrated that athletes without the aid of acoustic information produce an awful performance. To test and verify if the athletes were exposed to a decrement of performance, a setting has been built to measure their action-time and accuracy for every hit. Two experiments have been done. In the first one, the athletes were tested in two conditions: 1) Baseline condition (backward service in normal conditions) 2) Deprivation condition (backward service without acoustic stimulation). Both conditions were replicated in the second experiment but a third level had been added to the independent variable. This level was named Deprivation plus mediated sound condition. In this condition, the acoustic information produced by the impact racket-ball was transmitted to the athlete directly trough the headphones. This was the only acoustic information that the athlete could perceived since the use of the headphones guaranteed a complete isolation from the external environment. This allowed us to understand whether the acoustic information of the impact was ignored or not. The results show that there are two kinds of athletes: those that perform better in the visual/acoustic condition (Baseline) and others that perform better in acoustic deprivation.