chapter  11
Sensitivity of children and adults to haptic information in wielding tennis rackets
Pages 17

Many of the chapters in this book examine theoretical literature on the role of visual information in co-ordinating and controlling interceptive actions such as those involved in racket sports. In addition, other chapters, such as Chapter 10 by Button, Chapter 5 by Robertson, Trembley, Anson and Elliott, Chapter 18 by Li and Turrell and Chapter 19 by Glazier, Davids and Bartlett, emphasise the multimodal nature of the information used to successfully perform interceptive actions in sport (see also Tresilian, 1999). When performing in racket sports like tennis it has been pointed out by Cauraugh and Janelle, in their chapter, that the search for important sources of visual information by the performer may be enhanced by use of proprioceptive and auditory information from wielding the racket and the sound of bat-ball contact during a rally. This chapter examines previous research which shows how well humans perceive the haptic information provided when an implement is held in the hand. In addition, we discuss the findings from research investigating the sensitivity of adults and children of different levels of ability in tennis learn to use haptic information, provided by holding and swinging tennis rackets, for the selection of implements for striking balls. In this chapter, tennis racket wielding is used as a task vehicle to highlight data in support of theoretical ideas. However, there is no reason to believe that the findings from the research studies discussed cannot be generalised to other sports in which implements may be wielded for intercepting projectiles, including other racket sports, cricket, baseball, field-and ice-hockey and lacrosse. We begin by reviewing theoretical work highlighting the importance of haptic information for perceiving the utility of implements interceptive actions in racket sports.