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J Mot Behav. 2013;45(1):55-63. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2012.740522. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Temporal preparation in athletes: a comparison of tennis players and swimmers with sedentary controls.

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  • 1Institute of Neuroscience, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


The authors aimed to investigate the effects of different sporting experience on nonspecific temporal preparation. They evaluated temporal preparation in tennis players (an open-skill sport) and their athletic (swimmers, a closed skill-sport) and nonathletic (sedentary students) controls using a go/no-go variable foreperiod paradigm in which one simple condition and two go/no-go conditions (central-go and mixed-go) were included, which can be used to study the temporal aspects of nonspecific preparation with decision making in inhibition with different levels of cognitive load. Tennis players responded faster than nonathletic controls while there was no significant difference relative to the athletic controls. Additionally, the main finding of the present study is that the difference in reaction time between tennis players and nonathletic controls was found selectively for short foreperiods in which temporal uncertainty is higher and less temporal preparation can occur. Moreover, correlation analysis revealed that superior temporal preparation was positively associated with enhanced go/no-go decision making in the higher difficulty condition. Our findings are consistent with tennis players showing superior temporal processing. The absence of a significant effect in athletic controls suggests that there is a specific benefit from tennis training and indicates that temporal preparation may be susceptible to modulation by fitness and appropriate training.

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