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J Hum Kinet. 2017 Jan 30;55:83-95. doi: 10.1515/hukin-2017-0008. eCollection 2017 Jan 1.

A Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Effects of Competitive State Anxiety on Serve Kinematics in Table Tennis.

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Institute for Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Sports Science and Medical Committee, International Table Tennis Federation, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Displays of anxiety in table tennis were assessed through subjective (a self-report questionnaire), physiological (heart-rate variability) and kinematic variables. Using a within-group crossover design, 9 university-level table tennis players completed a series of serves under low- and high-anxiety conditions. Anxiety manipulation was achieved through the introduction of a national standard table tennis player, known to the participants, to receive serves in the high-anxiety condition, whilst serves were received by no opponent in the low-anxiety condition. Automated motion capture systems consisting of high-speed 3D motion cameras and analytical software (QUALISYS) determined the subject's movement kinematics: bat face angle (degrees) and serve routine duration (s). Self-reported state anxiety (MRF-Likert) and heart rate measurements were collected to examine changes between conditions. Contrary to the hypothesis, bat face angles did not change significantly between anxiety conditions (F (1.8) = 2.791, p = 0.133) and movement times were faster in the high-anxiety condition. In light of these findings, research into other facets of movement behaviour must be analysed to gain further understanding of the effects of anxiety on performance, which remain unclear.


anxiety; athlete; racquet sports; sports psychology

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