Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

The attentional focus impact on tennis skills’ technique in 10 and under years old players: Implications for real game situations

Marina Tsetseli, Eleni Zetou, Nikos Vernadakis, Fereniki Mountaki



The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of the internal and external focus of attention instructions on performance and learning of the service, forehand and backhand tennis skills at 8 – 9 years old tennis players. 68 participants of 8 – 9 years old (M=8.8, SD=0.54), were divided in three groups and followed a 6 weeks intervention program; the internal attentional focus group (N=21), the external attentional group (N=23) and the control group (N=24). Three measurements were implemented (pre, post, retention) in which the participants were video recorded: a) while performing each skill and b) while playing matches in real game situations. Due to the qualitative evaluation of the technique five assessment criteria were used, whilst due to performance outcome evaluation one part of the Game Performance Assessment Instrument (GPAI) was used. Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed significant interaction between groups and measurements and Bonferroni post hoc showed that the athletes of external focus of attention group had better scores in the post-test in the skills’ technique and in real game condition. The findings are in line with those of previous studies, which proved the superiority of external focus of attention instructions in performance and learning of object manipulation skills. Moreover, the present research makes an initial attempt to extend the already existing research about attentional focus impact on real game performance. 


Focus of attention; Instructions; Tennis’ skills; Outcome


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