Anticipation and confidence of decisions related to skilled performance

Gershon Tenenbaum*, Noa Levy-Kolker, Shraga Sade, Dario G. Liebermann, Ronnie Lidor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was carried out to examine anticipatory decisions of novice, intermediate, and expert tennis players and the confidence with which these decisions are made by these athletes. Perceived eye-focus was also measured to verify whether it is related to expertise level prior to action execution. Forty-five players, 15 in each skill category, were exposed to 6 temporal occluded film conditions (480, 320, 160 ms prior to racquet-ball contact, at contact, and 160 and 320 ms after contract) in randomized order within 8 tennis strokes. In each condition, after viewing the filmed sequence, they were asked to report the final ball location of the opponent's stroke, how confident they were in this decision, and their perceived eye-focus location during the sequence. The results indicated that experts and intermediates were superior in anticipatory decisions to their counterparts, only under short exposure durations. Novices shouted more confidence than experts and intermediates at the beginning of the sequence, but after 160 and 320 ms of ball-racquet contact, experts were much more confident than novices and intermediates. Self-reported eye-focus differed substantially with respect to expertise level. While experts attended to several locations prior to ball-racquet contact, intermediate and novice players gazed at one location. After contact, the reverse was evident. The findings are in partial agreement with other studies which have applied the temporal occlusion paradigm to study expert-novice differences in anticipatory skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-307
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996


  • Anticipation
  • Anticipatory decisions
  • Confidence
  • Expertise
  • Visual occlusion. Gershon tenenbaum


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