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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Characteristics of thought processes and knowledge structures of Novice tennis players Oguchi-Chen, Fumiko


Performers of physical skills develop knowledge structures in which the content, structure and process of special skills as well as context information are represented (Allard & Burnett, 1985; Gardner, 1985; Vickers, 1986). In the teaching of sports and physical education we deal with complexly organized knowledge structures and mental operations and changes occur as one (students, athletes, teachers and coaches) progresses from the novice to expert levels. The differences between the knowledge representation of experts and novices were documented in many areas, such as chess (Chase & Simon, 1973), physics (Chi, Feltovich & Glaser, 1981), mathematics teaching (Leinhardt& Smith, 1985) and gymnastics (Vickers, 1986). The basic purpose of this study was, for pedagogical reasons, to better understand the development of the novice performers' knowledge structure by exploring their thought processes in action. The focus was upon novice tennis players during the game situation. Four novice level volunteer students from a physical education tennis performance class were the subjects of this study. A multiple case study method utilizing both qualitative and quantitative data was employed. The qualitative method and procedure of stimulated recall (Grimmett, 1982; Housner & Griffey, 1985; Peterson, 1982; Tuckwell, 1980) was used to obtain verbal reports disclosing the novices' thought processes when reviewing the video tape segments of their play. Quantitative performance data using the CompuTennis scoring system were analyzed in order to verify the accuracy of the subject's comments during the analysis of their interview transcriptions. Moreover, field notes and two questionnaires completed multiple source data base in order to permit the analysis of a subject in all dimensions. A description of what the players thought and felt during the interview in relation to their tennis performance was presented and the players' thought processes and knowledge structures were analyzed and interpreted in relation to the complex internal and external cues reported in particular game situations. Diagrammatical summary of each case was presented as a representation of a player's thought processes and knowledge structures. As well, a novice player's thought processes and knowledge structures were discussed with a comparative view in relation to selected stage theories (Anderson,1982; Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1986; Jewett & Mullan, 1977). The present multiple cases revealed common themes across the cases of the novices as well as distinct individual differences in terms of the breadth, depth, organization and accessibility of the knowledges, working memory capacity and information processing efficiency (Kyllonen & Christal, 1989). Moreover, from the results of the study, developmental processes of compilation, composition and proceduralization of knowledges of action (Anderson, 1982) in the tennis game situation were discussed. Finally, the implications were discussed for the designs of instruction of skill performance.

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