chapter  21
9 Pages

Anticipation and skill in racket sports

ByA.M. WILLIAMS

In sports such as squash, badminton and tennis, the ability to anticipate an opponent’s intentions is crucial to high level performance (Williams et al., 1999). The racket sports are played at tremendous speed, particularly at the highest level, such that the time available to respond often exceeds basic human information processing constraints related to reaction time and movement time. Although on occasion the costs associated with an incorrect anticipation judgement may outweigh the potential benefits (James et al., 2005), typically, players do not have the luxury to react to an opponent’s stroke and consequently they must anticipate the type of stroke they will face before the ball or shuttle is struck. At very best, a decision must be made after viewing the initial portion of the ball or shuttle’s flight path.