This study aimed to explore the feasibility of using computer graphics (CG) animations to evaluate perceptual skills in tennis. In Experiment 1, we used video images or CG animations to examine the visual search behaviors and the accuracy of anticipating serve direction of 18 skilled tennis players. Participants viewed the racket area for a longer time during the 150 ms period immediately before the moment of racket–ball contact in the video image condition opposed to the CG animation condition. In addition, the participants made more accurate judgments in the video image condition than in the CG animation condition. In Experiment 2, we investigated the information pick-up patterns of 10 skilled players while they viewed either the video images or CG animations using a temporal occlusion. Consistent with the results of Experiment 1, participants made more accurate judgments during the 150 ms period immediately before the contact in the video image condition than in the CG animation condition. The results of both experiments showed that the perceptual information in the 150 ms period differed between the two film types. However, the anticipation accuracy of the CG animation condition in both experiments was over the chance level (50%), suggesting that the participants were able to pick up the anticipatory information of serve direction from the CG animations. This led to the conclusion that CG animations would be a valuable tool to examine perceptual skills in tennis.
2009 Japan Society of Physical Education, Health and Sport Sciences