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Publicly posted feedback with goal setting to improve tennis performance


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Publicly posted feedback with goal setting to improve tennis performance
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Mathews, Gretchen
University of South Florida
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Behavior analysis
Athletic performance
Dissertations, Academic -- Applied Behavior Analysis -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: A review of the literature regarding Applied Behavior Analysis within various sports settings shows that behavioral coaching is more effective than traditional coaching methods. Specifically, goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved the athletic performance of college level football players in two studies, and high school soccer players in one study. The present study found goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved tennis performance for six participants. A multiple baseline across participants design was used. Specifically, the participants improved their corner hitting ability, which is an important competitive shot in tennis. The participants improved their corner hitting ability from an average of 11.8% in baseline to 19.6% in intervention.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Gretchen Mathews.
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Publicly Posted Feedback with Goal Setting to Improve Tennis Performance by Gretchen Mathews A thesis submittedinpartial fulfillmentofthe requirements for the degreeofMasterofArts in Applied Behavior Analysis CollegeofGraduate Studies UniversityofSouth Florida Major Professor: Trevor Stokes, Ph.D. Debra Mowery, Ph.D. Frans van Haaren,PhD.DateofApproval: June 1g,2008 Keywords: behavior analysis, athletic performance, sports, children, comersCopyright 2008, Gretchen Mathews


Dedication This thesis was inspired by Erick Chall, who supported me throughout graduate school from the decision to apply to the UniversityofSouth Florida, through the papers, presentations, exams, practicum, and thesis experiences, to graduation. These have been exciting, stressful, wonderful, terrible, amazing times. The completionofthis thesis marks the beginning of another set and the scoreislove all."Itfeels amazing .... Thisiswhy you work so hard. These moments don't happen very often. I'm taking itin,and it's feeling pretty good."-AndreAgassi


Acknowledgements I would like to thank the McMullen Tennis Complex for allowing me to use their facilities for my thesis site. Thanks to the athletesandtheir parents who allowed me to track their tennis performance. I would also like to thank my wonderful research assistants Victoria Fogel and Tyler Lott. I couldn't have asked for more dedicated,professional, outstanding assistants. Bothofyou will go farinthis field. Finally, I would like to thank my thesis committee members Dr. MoweryandDr.van Haaren, and my major advisor,Dr.Stokes, who provided critical insight, encouragement,andinspiration throughout the thesis process. Thank you all.


Table of Contents List ofTablesiiListofFigures iii Abstract iv Chapter One: Introduction 1 Applied Behavior AnalysisinSports 2 Goal SettingandPublicly Posted Feedback 13 The Present Study 19 Chapter Two Method21Participants21nApparatus 22 Procedure 23 Baseline 23 Intervention 24 Alternative Dependent Measures 25 Design 25 Interobserver Agreement 26 Social Validity 27 Chapter Three: Results 28 Social Validity 33 Chapter Four: Discussion 34 Strengths 34VVeaknesses35 Future Research 37 Conclusion 38 References 40 Appendices43AppendixA:Parental Consent44AppendixB:Child Assent 50 AppendixC:Tennis Thesis Clinic Data Collection Sheet 52 AppendixD:Tennis Thesis Tournament Data Collection Sheet 53


TableofContents Continued Appendix E: Social Validity Questionnaire AppendixF:Clinic Session Data About the Authorii5455 58


Table2.1Table3.1Table3.2ListofTables Demographics and Experience Tournament Results Ranking and Win/Loss Results iii 2232 33


ListofFigures Figure3.1Percentageofcorners hit by participants across conditions31iv


Publicly Posted Feedback with Goal Setting to Improve Tennis Performance Gretchen Mathews ABSTRACT A reviewofthe literature regarding Applied Behavior Analysis within various sports settings shows that behavioral coachingismore effective than traditional coaching methods. Specifically, goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved the athletic performance of college level football players in two studies, and high school soccer players in one study. The present study found goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved tennis performance for six participants. A multiple baseline across participants design was used. Specifically, the participants improved their comer hitting ability, which is an important competitive shotintennis. The participants improved their comer hitting ability fromanaverageof11.8%inbaseline to 19.6%inintervention.v


Chapter One Introduction Traditionally, coaches are known to use coercive strategies to improve their athletes sport performance. This might include yelling at a player for making a mistake, threateningtotake the player out of the game, forcing excessive exercise, or denying the athlete water. Bobby Knight, the men's basketball coach at Texas Tech, is one of the most controversial coachesofall time. After coaching for the Army, Knight coached at Indiana University and received numerous awards and recognitions, including being elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, after a student alleged that Knight was abusive towards him, Knight was relieved of his coaching duties and took a job coachingatTexas Tech. Other Knight controversies include an arrest for assaulting a police officer, throwing a chair during a game to protest the referee's call, lashing out at his players during practice, allegedly kicking his son during a game, berating an NCAA volunteer at a news conference, and being restrained by a police officer during a game because of a heckling fan (Wikipedia, 2007). While Knight has had many successesinhis coaching career, this typeofabusive and negative behavior is not appropriate and should not be tolerated. While this coaching style may be effective in improving athletic performance, there are ethical considerations regarding treating people humanely. Coaches admire Bobby Knight for his achievements, and may imitate his coaching style in hopesof1


achieving similar results.Incontrast to Knight's style, behavior analysis has proposed a more positive style, characterized as "Effective behavioral coaching," which has six characteristics including: 1) measurementofathletic performance, 2) distinction between developing and maintaining behavior, 3) encouragement to improve against performance, 4) emphasis on coaching as a science, 5) behavior modification for the coach, and 6) social validation (Martin&Hrycaiko, 1983).Applied Behavior Analysis in SportsInthe 1960's behavior analysis made its entrance into the sports world (Donahue, Gillis,&King, 1980). Early research by Allison and Ayllon (1980) showed that applied behavior analytic tools are more effective than traditional coaching methods in the acquisition and improvement of athletic skills among football players, gymnasts, and tennis players aged 11-35.Inthree studies, Allison and Ayllon (1980) pioneered a behavioral package which included five factors including: 1) executing the skill, in which the athlete performed the skill; 2) judging correct execution,inwhich the coach yelled the word, "freeze!" if the athlete performed the skill incorrectly; 3) describing the incorrect position, in which the coach identified and provided descriptive feedback regarding what the athlete was doing incorrectly; 4) modeling the correct position, in which the coach would perform the skill correctly; and 5) imitating the correct position, in which the athlete would imitate the coach. Allison and Ayllon demonstrated the effectiveness of this package with three sportsinthree studies: football,2


gymnastics,andtennis (1980). This study was successfully replicated (Anderson&Kirkpatrick, 2002; Fitterling&Ayllon, 1983). The first study described by Allison and Ayllon (1980) examined the efficacyofthe behavioral package in facilitating the acquisition of blocking skillsina second string youth football team. A block contained the following components: 1) the body must be behind the lineofscrimmage; 2) the stance mustbea 4-point stance with the toes and the fingertips on the ground, heelsofthe feet off the ground, head up, feet spread at least 18" apart to form a solid base; 3) there must benomovement until the snap when movement must be immediate; 4) the player must spring up, hitting the opposing player in the chest, shoulder pad to shoulder pad, with his head between the opposing player's headandthe ball, and his arms must be folded to his chest; 5) his arms can be thrust away from the bodyinthe folded position but they must not unfold; 6) the player cannot grasp the opponent with his hands nor about the opponent's body with his head;7)the player's feet must beincontinuous driving motion, and he must drive his opponent away from the direction of the ball and the directionofthe play; and 8) the player must maintain body contact with his opponent until the whistle blows. The participants were five males ages11and12identified by their coaches as, "completely lacking fundamental football skills." Fourofthe boys were includedina multiple-baseline design whileanABAB design was used for the fifth participant.Instandard coaching, the coaches yelled at and ridiculed the boysiftheir blocking was incorrect. As part of the intervention, the researcher taught the coaches to yell "freeze" if the participant performed the block3


incorrectly. Then the coach identified the problem and positively corrected the participant. The results of the first study were excellent. All of the boys improved nearly tenfold in blocking skills.Thesecond study examined the efficacy of the behavioral package in facilitating the acquisition of gymnastic skills. The participants included six girls ages13and14 on the non-varsity gymnastics teamofa high school. A multiple baseline across participants and behaviors with reversals design was used. The skills included "backward walkovers," "front handsprings," and "reverse kips." Backward walkovers were operationally definedas1) as the gymnast walks over, the lead foot should touch down on the floor18to 24 inches behind the hands; 2) the knee of the lead leg may be bent at no greater than 22.5 degrees, in the angle made by the calfandthe thigh at the inner juncture of the knee; 3) the following leg must beinthe air, straight, and thetoe pointed;4)the arms must be straight;and5) the head must be between the arms and faced back toward the legs, not toward the floor. "Front handsprings," were operationally defined as 1) as the gymnast lands from the handspring, the feet must be parallel to each other; 2) the gymnast must land on the two feet simultaneously, without taking additional steps; 3) the angleofthe thigh and the calf at the inner knee must be90degreesorgreater (straighter) on landing; 4) the arms must be extended upward and straightoneither side of the head; and 5) the back may be slanted backupto 22.5 degrees from the vertical but no more. "Reverse kips," were operationally defined as 1) the body must remain in a kip position until the hipsofthe gymnast return to a position level with the baronthe way back to an upright4


position; 2) at this level position, the gymnast may unfold her kipped position, increasing the angle of the upper torso with the legs from 22.5 degrees to 180 degrees; 3) the hips must return to the position level with the barina circular motion, with the same distance of the hips from the bar at this follow-through point as they are at the initiation of the skill; the hips must not touch the bar until after this point; 4) the arms must be straight; 5) the legs must be straight, and 6) the toes mustbepointed. Asinthe first study, coaches yelled, "freeze," if the skills were executed incorrectly. The coach would positively identify and correct the problem. Then the coach correctly modeled the position and the participant imitated the coach. Baseline levels wereatornear zero for all participants and all skills. The results of the behavioral coaching phases show that all participants improved to approximately 70% across all targeted skillsinthe behavioral coaching phases. Retum to baseline phases dropped to near baseline levels for all participants, indicating that the behavioral coaching package was the key element to the acquisition of the skills, and also that maintenance was not being achieved. The five component package was the same format used in the football study; therefore, it was unclear what the effects were of each component. The third study by Allison and Ayllon (1980) utilized the same five component behavior package but applied it to tennis. The participants included 3 males and 9females ranginginage from 18-35. The skills included serve, forehand,andbackhand. The serve was defined as: 1) the grip mustbeanyofthe standard forehand gripsoranEastern backhand grip; 2) the left footofa right-handerorthe right foot of a left-hander should be within three to four inches5


ofthe baseline or closer but not touching the baseline at about a 45 degree angle to the baseline; 3) at the finish the opposite foot must be either pointed toward the back of the court or one step into the court; 4) if the former, the weight must beonthe front foot; if the latter, the weightison the foot that stepped into the court; 5) the knees must be slightly bent; 6) the hips should be parallel to the net;7)the racket arm must be straight and aligned with the body; 8) the racket must beonthe opposite side of the body from the racket arm (left side for right handers); 9) the racket should come to rest pointing down at the courtorslightly behind the body pointingtoward the back of the court; and 10) the racket face shouldbeparallel to the net plane. The forehand was defined as: 1) the grip must be either the standard Eastem forehand, the Continental,orthe Australian; 2) the left foot of a right-hander must be stepping toward the net while the opposite foot mustbe180 degrees behind it pointed toward the back of the court; 3) the weight mustbeonthe front foot; 4) the front knee must be bent; 5) thetoe only of the back foot mustbetouching the court; 6) the hips mustbewithin 45 degreesofbeing parallel to the net;7)the elbowofthe racket arm must not be bent more than20degrees; 8) therimofthe racket must be pointing straight ahead into the opposite court; 9) the racket must be above waist level; 10) the racket head must not be lower than the wrist; and 11) the faceofthe racket must be perpendicular to the court. The backhand was defined as: 1) the grip must be the standard Eastern backhand grip or the Continental grip; 2) the right foot of a right-handerorthe left footofa left-hander must be stepping toward the net while the opposite foot must be 180 degrees behind it pointed toward the backofthe court; 3-11)6


the same elements as the forehand. A multiple baseline across behaviors and individuals was used. All the participants fell below 40% accuracyinbaseline. The results of the behavioral coaching phase showed improvement across all participantsandskills. Maintenance was tested intermittently with standard coaching "probes." The results of these probes show that maintenance was not achieved earlyinthe intervention phase. However, the probes did show maintenance of the skills in the absenceofthe behavioral coaching after extended traininginthe treatment phase (after approximately42trials). These three studies show that behavioral coaching effectivelyimproved skill acquisition across football, gymnastics, and tennis skills with 23 male and female athletes ranginginage from 11-35. This suggests that behavioral coaching techniques are more effective than traditional methods of coaching. Fitterling and Ayllon (1983) replicated these findings with four female participants in classical ballet. The dependent variables were four bar exercises called "degage," a movementorposition in which the workinglegislifted off the floor; "frappe," the working foot rests lightlyonthe ankleofthe supporting foot, throw the working leg forcefully out to a degage position so that it strikes the floor 1/3ofthewayout, hold the leg out as long as possible, retuming it to its initial position at the last moment; "developpe," a movementinwhich the working leg is drawn up to the kneeofthe supporting leg and from there smoothly out to a position in the air at90degrees (parallel to the floor); and "grand battement," a "kick"inwhich the working legisraised as high as possible while keeping the rest of the body still. "Kick"isinquotes because the battement should be a7


controlled lift, not a throwingofthe leg into the air, and the leg must be controlled while coming down. During the intervention, the behavioral coaching package was implemented when the participant incorrectly executed the target skill. The coach said, "freeze", then described the incorrect position. Next the coach modeled and described the correct position. Next, the instructor physically guided the participant from the frozen position into the correct position, in which she stayed frozen (this was a slight variation to Allison and Ayllon's behavioral coaching package). The instructor then described the improved condition, and the participant was instructed to try the position again. All sessions were videotaped and scored for correct skill execution percentage. Withina multiple baseline design the resultsofthis study showed an improvement of performance from 13%inbaseline to 88% mean correct skill execution.Inanattempt to partially replicate this and Allison and Ayllon's (1980) studies, AndersonandKirkpatrick (2002) investigated the effects of a behavioral treatment packageoninline roller speed skaters. The participantsinthis study were one femaleandthree male competitive inline roller speed skaters ranging in age from 12-16 years. The targeted skill in this study was a "relay tag." During relay races, skaters hadtoexit the center relay box when a designated teammate rounded oneendofthe rink. The skater preparing for the tag then accelerated in the interior of the next turn untilheorshe passed the corner pylon, at which point the skater entered the traffic lane directly in frontofhisorherpartner in order to receive a push and thereby complete the tag. The skater making the push then exited the floor, and the athlete who had entered the track8


completed the requisite number of laps before encountering another teammate exiting the relayboxandentering the traffic lane to make the next tag.Tobe correct, the relay tag had to occur before a mark that was placedonthe floor 5m past the designated corner pylon.Inaddition, thetag had to be properly completed.Ifthe skaters met but failed to execute a "push," orifone of the skaters fell upon making the tag, the trial was recorded as incorrect." Each participant reported difficulty in acquiring this skill despite verbal instruction and modeling. The behavioral treatment package was implemented in two phases: verbal praise, in which the experimenter (a former competitive speed skater) shouted "good tag," or something similar along with the participant's name after each correct relay tag; visual feedbackofcorrect tagsinthe form of hisorher scores for theday;andverbal instruction for performance improvementinthe formofspecific instructions for executing correct tags. The first phase utilized a multiple baseline across participants design. Resultsinthe first treatment phase indicated substantial improvement of the target behavior for two of the three original participants. Results for the third participant were only assessed for three sessions, two of which showed improvement, one ofwhichshowed a decrease in performance. Therefore, not enough data were recorded to establish stability. The second phase was originally intended to be a follow-up phase, but maintenance was not achieved for any of the participants. A fourth participant was added for replication purposes. A second baseline was established and treatment was re-implemented at the same time for the original three participants9


andina multiple baseline design for the fourth participant. Resultsinthis phase showed a substantial increaseinmean perfonmance; however, there was so much variability (ranging from 0-100% with general downward trends) for the original three participants that these results should be viewed skeptically. For the fourthparticipant, the data showed a substantial increaseinmean performance comparable to the other three participants; however, the data showed a rapid downward trend. Furthermore, no follow-up data were taken after the second phase. The results of this study indicate a behavioral coaching treatment package can be used to facilitate acquisition of athletic skills, though maintenanceofthese skills should be addressed alternatively. Scott, Scott,andGoldwater (1997) used shaping to improve the athletic performance of a21yearoldmale competitive pole vaulter. The participant was having trouble extending his arms properly while "planting" the pole, which was necessary to achieve full height of the vault. Baseline data reported a mean hand height of 2.25m. The investigators successfully achieved an improved stable hand height by implementing a photoelectric beam at the desired hand height, which would beepifthe participant attained the height. The "beep" became a conditioned reinforcer because it indicated to the participant he reached the desired hand height. Additionally, he was given the verbal prompt, "reach" by the investigator at take off. When the participant reliably met the goal hand height, the photoelectric beam height was increased in a changing-criterion design by 0.05m increments. Each time the criterion changed, a marked difference occurredinthe 10


participant's skill level, indicating experimental control of the design. After 18 months, the shaping treatment resultedina .25m increase.Inanother studyoftennis skills, stimulus cueing, a form of self instructional verbalization out loud, was shown to be effectiveinincreasing the acquisitionofforehandandbackhand skills with twenty-four beginner level tennis players (Ziegler, 1987).Inthis study, fourteen females and ten males ranging in age from19-31years participated. All participantshadnone to minimal experience playing tennis. The setting was a two-court indoor facility atanurban university. The participants were divided into three groupsanda multiple baseline design across participants was used. The skills targeted for acquisition were the forehand and backhand retums. The forehand was definedas:1 )racquet head above wrist, 2) stepped forward on oppositeleg(right-handed player steps out on left foot), 3) ball contacted on racquet side ofbody,4) nonracquet hand pointed toward ball,5)contact off forward knee, 6) follow-through toward opponent (machine),7)assume ready position, and 8) ball crossed netandlandedinthe backcourt area (between the service line and theendline) within the singles court boundary. The backhand was defined as: 1) racquet head above wrist, 2) stepped forwardonopposite leg,3)racquet arm scapula pointed toward ball, 4) ball contacted on nonracquet side of body,5)contact off forward knee, 6) followthrough toward opponent (machine), 6) assume ready position, and7)same as for the forehand retum. Data were collectedonwhether the participant performed the skills correctly, and whether or not the ball was returned to the backcourt successfully.11


The treatment phase consistedofstimulus cueing, in which the participant was instructed to verbalize each stepofthe point. The participant was to say "ready," when they wereinthe "ready position." As the ball was fired from the ball machine, they were tosay,"ball." When the ball bounced, they were to say, "bounce." Finally, when the ball hit the racquet, they were to say, "hit." Then the process was repeated for thirty forehands and thirty backhands. During this phase, the instructor would remind them to "cue" every five balls (during baseline they were instructed to "concentrate"or"keep their eyeonthe ball" after every five balls). Feedback was not given during data collection sessions, although each participant got skill instruction during regularly scheduled training outside this study's procedures. The results of this study show that forehand and backhand skills increased significantly during the treatment phase. Each group made minimal progress through their baseline sessions. With the introduction of the stimulus cueing procedure each group's mean performance increased by 44%, 43%,and49%. Individual participant forehand and backhand skills improved at levels consistent with the group mean. This study shows that stimulus cueing is more effective than traditional methods of coaching forehand and backhand tennis skills. However, no data were collected on whether the skills generalized to game settings, which is an important factor in sports settings. No further studies on stimulus cueinginsports could be found for replication of this study's findings. Behavioral coaching was shown effective in improving athletic performance by Allison & Ayllon (1980). Three studies applied a behavioral12


coaching treatment package to football, gymnastics, and tennis. The coaching package included several behavior analytic tools including: verbal instructions and feedback, positiveandnegative reinforcement, positive practice,andtime out. This study was successfully replicated with four bar exercises in classical balletbyFitterlingandAyllon (1983).Ina less effective study, Anderson and Kirkpatrick (2002) applied a behavioral treatment package with inline roller speed skaters. Unfortunately, they were unable to achieve maintenanceofthe targeted skill. Shapingisa technique commonly used with beginner level athletes. However, Scott,Scott,andGoldwater (1997) used a shaping intervention with a competitive pole vaulter. The vaulter's hand height performance improved from 2.25m to 2.5m over a period of18months. Ziegler (1987) utilized stimulus cueing with beginner level tennis players to effectively facilitate the acquisitionofforehand and backhand returns. The players were cued by the coachona fixed ratio five ball schedule to say, "ready, ball, bounce, hit" for thirty balls. The intervention improved the participant's performances by approximately 45%.Intwo studies mentioned, tennis performance was improved by utilizing Applied Behavior Analytic techniques. Behavioral coaching and stimulus cueing were more effective than traditional coaching methods in improving the serve, forehand, and backhand.Goal SettingandPublicly Posted FeedbackIna review of30years of research, goal-setting and feedback have been shown to be effectiveinimproving athletic performance (Martin, Thompson, & Regehr, 2004). It has been evidenced that "specific, difficult, and self-generated 13


goals" have favorable resultsonperformance over "easy goals, no goals,ordoyour best" goals (Locke&Latham, 1990). According to FellnerandSulzer-Azaroff (1984), "A goalisa stimulus that precedes behavior. When the antecedent goal reliably accompanies a reinforced response it acquires 'discriminative control,' increasing the probability it will cue the individual to repeat the behavior. Also, attainmentofa goal can function as a reinforcing stimulus"(p.35). Contingency-specifying statements (CSS) are discriminative stimuli that evoke a goal setting response (Huber, 1986). Examples of CSS's that evoke goal setting are: announcement of a contingency,anincentive statement, goal setting statements made by others,andnormative information that implies contingencies between performance levels and consequences. According to Huber, CSSs that specify type and amount of the consequence are more likely to be effective than those which do not (1986). Also, if the consequence for the responseisnot comparable to the task effort, the goal statement will havenoimpact on performance. Locke (1991) found that goal-settingisaneffective strategyinimproving athletic performanceinover 500 studies. Goal-setting and feedback have been showntobe effectiveinimproving athletic performance (Brobst&Ward, 2002; Smith&Ward, 2006; Ward&Carnes, 2002). Ward and Carnes (2002) reported a 29% mean performance increase over baseline when utilizing a treatment package including goal-setting and publicly posted feedback with a college football team. The participantsinthis study were five male linebackers on a DivisionIIcollege football team. The 14


linebackers were chosenbytheir coach as being likely starters that year even though they demonstrated poor target skillsinpractice and games the previous year. There were three targeted skills includedinthe multiple-baseline across behaviors design. First, the linebacker was to getinposition to coveranareaofthe field during a pass orrun.This was called a correct "read." Second, the linebacker was to get into position as a response to the positioning of the offense. This was called a correct "drop." The final dependent variable measured whetherornot the participant tackled the ball carrier, stopping his run. Data were videotaped during practicesandgames and scored later based on percentageofcorrectorincorrect execution of skills. Each participant scored correctly between 60% and 80% during baseline. Then, they were instructed to set a goal higher than their baseline performance; they each chose 90%. The coaches were unaware of their goals. The results of practice performance were publicly posted next to each player's name. If the goal was met, aY was posted, if the goal was not met, an N was posted. No performance chart was posted for game performance. The resultsofthis study show that reads, drops, and tackles improved for all participants from less than 80% to at least 90% in practices and games. The improvement in game performance indicated generalization of the skills to game settings as a resultofthe goal-setting plus publicly posted feedback treatment package.15


Brobst and Ward (2002) showed that public posting, goal setting, and oral feedback improved the athletic performanceofthree female high school soccer players during the course of one season. Each participant had five years soccer experience, regularly attended scheduled practices, and the coach identified the players as likely to playinat least halfofeach game. Data were collected via videotape during ten games and 27 practice scrimmages. Event recording data were based on percentage of opportunities. The dependent measures included three targeted skills labeled "movement with the ball," which were occasions on which a player received the ball from a partnerandthen dribbled the ball for at least 5s without losing possession to either another player or as a result of unforced error; "movement during restarts," which were occasions during a soccer game on which the game was stopped and restarted. At these times players must move toanopen spacetoreceive a ball kickedorthrown to them; and "movement after the player passed the ball," which were occasionsonwhich a player moved to a supporting position after having passed the ball. Eachofthese skills were recorded whenever the teamhadpossessionofthe ball. The skills were coded correctifthe skills matched their operational definitionsorincorrect by forcedorunforced error. A multiple baseline design across behaviors was utilized. The intervention consistedofgoal setting, public posting, and oral feedback. Prior to the intervention the coach set the goal at 90% correct performance. Before each practice session, data from the previous practice were posted beside the field where water breaks were taken. Additionally, the16


investigator met with participants individually prior to each practice session to review the data. If the goal was met, praise was provided,ifthe goal was not met, encouragement was provided. Data takenfrom game sessions were evaluated for generalization purposes only, therefore these data were not postedordiscussed with the players. Results indicated a positive change across behaviors and participants. Each participant met and exceeded the 90% goal in several practice sessions. The intervention generalized to game settings with "movementofthe ball," however the other two targeted skills remained near baseline levels in game settings. The authors suggested the skills may not have generalized because scrimmage and game settings were dissimilar; however, this was not analyzed experimentally. Maintenance was achieved with "movementofthe ball," when the intervention was removed; however, the other two targeted skills did not maintain, perhaps becauseofthe dissimilarity between scrimmage and game settings,orbecauseofthe lackofcoach interaction during game settings. Also, "movementofthe ball" had higher baseline levels, which may indicate higher baseline skill levels are more likely to achieve maintenance when the intervention is withdrawn. The authors suggested the goals may have been set too high. While the players' performances improved noticeably, they did not always reach criterion. The authors suggest future researchers set goals based on baseline levelsofperformance. The author's stated it would have been more appropriate to set modest goals basedonthe previous day's performance. 17


Ina similar study, Smith and Ward (2006) showed that goal-setting plus publicly posted feedback were effectiveinimproving the performance of three DivisionIIcollege football players. The three participants were all wide receivers which the coach identifiedasexecuting three target skills poorly during practices and games. The first dependent variable measured whetherornot the participant blocked the defensive player legally and effectively. The second skill measured whetherornot the participantranthe route outlined in the playbook contingent on the defending team's strategy for that play. Thirdly, a release from the lineofscrimmage was scored correct if the participant effectively avoided contact with a defensive player andranthe route established by the playbook.AnABACA B+C multi-treatment withdrawal design was utilized. All phasesofthe design included error correction and verbal feedback during practices. Data were recorded by a video camera and scored later based on percentage of correct and incorrect releases, blocks, and routes. Baseline results showed that percentages of correct execution of skills ranged from 50%-80% (with the exception of one occurrence of 90% accuracy) during practices. Game performance ranged between 60%-80%. The first treatment phase publicly posted the resultsofthe day's practice on a performance chart next to the locker room. This phase resultedinan increase of performance between 80%-100% during practices and 90%-100% during games. During the second baseline, all behaviors returned to original baseline levels during practices; however, game performances stayed 10% higher. 18


The second treatment phase utilized a goal-setting procedure. The goals were set at 90%, which was considered reasonable by the coach and investigators. Before each day's session, the investigator verbally informed the participants of their results from the previous day's practice. The exact results were not reported for this phase; however, the authors stated the results were better for at least one dependent variable for each participantandsimilar to the public posting phase for the other dependent variables. Baseline levels returned to the original baseline levels again, and the game performances remained 10% higher than the original baseline. The third treatment phase included publicly posted feedback and goal setting. This phase resultedin90%-100% accuracy during practices and 100% accuracy during games. This study, like Ward and Carnes (2002) shows that goal-setting plus publicly posted feedback isaneffective strategy to improve the performanceofmale DivisionIIcollege football players. Ward and Cames (2002), BrobstandWard (2002), and Smith and Ward, (2006), showed goal-setting with publicly posted feedback was effectiveinimproving soccer and football skills among high school and college level athletes. No experimentally controlled, peer reviewed studies could be found applying goal-setting with publicly posted feedback to the sport of tennis.ThePresent StudyThe purposeofthe current studyisto evaluate the effectivenessofgoal setting plus publicly posted feedback on athletic performance applied to the sportoftennis, with players demonstrating potential for hitting the ball to the outside 19


corners of the court on the baseline and sideline, whichisan importantcompetitiveshot according to tennis professionals. When a corner is hit during the rallyofa tennis match, the opponent mustmoveaway from the center of the court,leavingthe court open.20


Chapter Two MethodParticipantsThree maleandthree female competitive tennis players aged 8-15, participated in this study. The participants consisted of four Caucasians, one Asian, and one African American. Three participants were right handed and three were left handed. Inclusioncriteriafor participants included: the participant had at least one year of tennis experience, the coach identified the participant as having potential to play tennis professionally, the participant statedaninterest in playing tennis on a professional levelinthe future, the participant had a state ranking within hisorher age/gender division, and the participant had high attendance records (at least 90%). See Table2.1for demographic and experience information. Each participantandtheir parent(s) signed informed consent forms approved by the UniversityofSouth Florida's Institutional Review Board (IRB) (see Appendices AandB).Each participant participated in training clinics five days per week from 4:30-7:30pm. The clinics consistedofat least three professional tennis coaches and 12-30 players. The head professional tennis coach was a32year-old male with a Bachelor of Science degreeinSports Management. He was certified by the United States Tennis Association and coached tennis for15years. His supervisor reportedhewas oneofmost proficient coaches she worked with.21


Informal interviewingofmany players and their parents indicated the coach was well received byplayersandtheir parents. Table 2.1. DemographicsandExperience.Participant Age Gender Race Rodger 15 Male Asian Rafael11Male Caucasian Maria10Female Caucasian Ana 13 Female African-American Novak 10 Male Caucasian Jelena8Female CaucasianSettingHandedLeftRight Right RightLeft LeftExperience 1.5 years 1.75 years 3 years 1.25 years 4 years 4 yearsThe present study took place at the McMullen Tennis Complex which was honored by national, regional, and state tennis and recreation organizations, including the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Technical Committee (Schmidt&Miller, Fall 2001).Tennis Industrynamed the site "Court of the Year Winner"in2001(Francesconi, 2001). There were seven hard courts and eight clay courts. This study utilized one hard court (10.973 mx 23.774 m including double's alleys), made from a mixtureofconcrete and asphalt, covered with rubber.ApparatusAPlaymateball machine was utilized in this study. This ball machine was capableof:speed control, feed rate control, elevation control, a two speed random oscillator, wireless remote control,anda ball capacityof200. 22


ProcedureEach participant had been in training with the coach for at least one year. They participatedinpractice clinics daily. private lessons weekly. and competedinfrequent tournaments. Each participant's tennis schedule remained consistent throughout the study. Prior to the present study, the coach used shaping. modeling. positive reinforcement, time out,anda varietyofgamesonthe court to teach tennis. Players reported he was loud, outgoing, and funininteractions. Baseline singles comers 1 and 2 were targeted in this study. Corner 1 was a right angle triangle locatedonthe baseline and sidelineofthe deuce court (on the right side when serving). Corner 2 was located on the baseline and sideline of theadcourt (on the left side when serving). The dimensions of the corners were as follows: 1monthe baseline.2monthe sideline, 2.24m hypotenuse. Accordingtothe head professional tennis coach, the rationale for being able to hit a corner was that balls hit to corners consistently were typically very difficult to return. Therefore, the player hitting the corner was considered "in control" of the point and that was more likely a "winner" (point winning shot).Baseline.Data were collectedin10-20 minute sessions three times per week. The sessions took place during the regularly scheduled clinic hours. Sessions consistedofeach participant hitting 100 balls from the ball machine, divided into sets consistingof20 balls followed by a 30 second break. Prior to each session, the participant was instructed to aim for corners 1 and 2 alternately. Each participant was assessed for how many corners 1 and 2 they hit 23


out of 100. The ball machine was programmed to feed the balls randomly without topspin from far right,right, center right, center left, left, and far left at 30mph. The Principal Investigator collected data on site. Each ball hit was scored as1,if corner 1 washit;2,if corner 2 was hit;In,if the ballwas hit "in bounds" but not in a corner;Out,if the ball was hit out of bounds over the net; Net, if the ball was hit into the net;or-,if the participant missedormiss-hit the ball entirely. After each session, the data sheets presentedinAppendices C and D were tallied by the Principal Investigator and feedback was given verbally. Typically, the coach gave descriptive feedback and praise throughout practice sessions. However, during tournament settings, the participants were not allowed to receive any kind of coaching during a game. Therefore, the coach was not allowed to give feedback during sessions. Following each session, the participants usually informed the coachandeveryone else aroundoftheir resultsandhe provided praise. The participants were not given any specific instructions as to whetherornot they should share their results.Intervention.During the Intervention phase,inaddition to the baseline procedures, the principal investigator asked the participants to set a goal for how many corners they wanted to hit outof100 prior to each session. The participants were reminded of their score from the previous session and allowed to choose their own goal. Without additional instruction, some participants set goals based on other participant's results, i.e.,"Iwant to beat Rodger." Additionally, without additional instruction, some participantsset intermediate goals, i.e.,"Iwant to hit10out of20this set." Following the session last baseline24


session and each subsequent intervention session, feedback was postedinbar graph formatonthe "Wall of Champions," where tournament and ranking information was typically posted. This wall was one sideofthe clubhouse locatedina public spot outside of the clubhouse near the locker rooms. It was frequently looked at by the players, their parents, and the coaches. The bar graphs showing the goals and results were displayedongreen poster board with the participants name spelled outinglitter letters at the top. Results from each day were added to previous day's results so the graph displayed changes over time. Additionally, a Y or N was placed below the session results to indicate whether the participant reached hisorher goal.Alternative dependent measures.Inaddition to the clinic sessions, data were collected in tournament sessions to assess generalization.Intournament sessions, each ball return was scored by percentageofcorners over opportunities. An opportunity was defined as any ball return (the serve was excluded as the serveishit to the service box).Inaddition, although it was not the main focusofthis study to improve state rankingorwin/loss ratios, data were collected to evaluate whether the participants' ranking andlor win/loss records improved. Ranking and win/loss information was found on the USTAwebsite.DesignThis experiment utilized a multiple baseline across participants design. Participants were introduced to the interventionina sequential manner, such that three participants experienced the intervention after approximately three clinic baseline sessions (when data appeared stable) and three participants25


experienced the intervention after approximately eight baseline clinic sessions (when those data appeared stable).Interobserver AgreementInterobserver agreement (lOA) data were collected by having a graduate level research assistant record whether each ball hit corner1,corner2,In,Out, Net,or-concurrent but independent from the principal investigator. The data collectors were trained by the principal investigator to recognize where the ball hit the court or net. lOA was calculated in two ways,bycorner agreementandby total agreement. Corner agreement was calculated by dividing the numberofagreements on corners by the numberofdisagreements on corners plus agreements on comers and multiplyingby100%. Total agreement was calculated by dividing the number of total agreements by the number of total disagreements plus total agreements and multiplying by 100%. During clinics, lOA scores were assessedin58.34%ofsessions. Corner lOA scoresinclinics were a mean of 73.94% and a range from 34.78%-100%. During clinics, total lOA scores were a mean of 92.54% and a range from 82% 99%. Fifty percent of Rodger's clinic sessions were scored for lOA. Rodger's corner lOA were a mean of 81.25% and a range from 70.59%-90.91%.Rodger's total lOA were a mean of 94% and a range from91%-96%. Fifty percentofRafael's clinic sessions were scored for lOA.Inclinics, Rafael's corner lOA scores were 63.74%anda range from 34.78%-80%.Inclinics Rafael's total lOA scores were a mean of 89.25% and a range from 82%-95%. Fifty-five percentofMaria's clinic sessions were scored for lOA. Maria's corner lOA scores were a 26


meanof68.37% and a range from 45.45%-89.47%. Maria's total lOA scores were a meanof91.67%anda range from 89%-95%. Fifty-five percent of Ana's clinic sessions were scored for lOA. Ana's corner lOA scores were a meanof80%anda range from 68.42%-100%. Ana's total lOA scores were a meanof95.2% and a range from 90%-98%. Sixty-seven percentofNovak's clinic sessions were scored for lOA. Novak's corner lOA scores were a meanof74.74%anda range from 57.14%-93.75%. Novak's total lOA scores were a mean of 91.67% and a range from 90%-93%. Sixty-four percent of Jelena's clinic sessions were scored for lOA.Inclinics, Jelena's corner lOA scores were a mean of 75.51% and a range from 57.14%-94.12%.Inclinics, Jelena's total lOA scores were a meanof93.43% and a range from 88%-99%. During tournaments, corner lOA scores were assessed in 17.86% of sessions. lOA scores were a mean of 60.06%anda range from 25%-100%.Intournament sessions, Rafael's mean corner lOA score was 34.69%.Intournament sessions, Jelena's mean corner lOA was 100%. lOA was not assessed during tournament sessions for Rodger, Maria, Ana,orNovak.Social ValidityA questionnaire was given to each participantatthe end of the study. It asked the participant torateona 5-point likert type scale how much they agreed with statements presentedinAppendix E which relate to the dimensionsofsocial validity regarding ability to hit corners, tennis playing ability, goal setting, publicly posted feedback. 27


Chapter Three Results The results, presentedinFigure3.1and AppendixF,show that in comparisontobaseline measures, goal setting with publicly posted feedback improved each participant's ability to hit cornersinclinic sessions. Baseline means in clinics ranged from 7%-17% with an overall mean of 11.8%, while intervention means ranged from 12%-29% withanoverall meanof19.6%. Rodger's clinic score improved from a baseline meanof10% and rangeof10%-10% to a mean of 21%anda rangeof13%-29%. Rodger's baseline data show stability at 10%. Rodger's intervention data do not overlap his baseline bandwidth and trend upwards with some variability. Rafael's clinic score improved from a baseline meanof15% and a range of 15%-15% to a meanof21.5% and a range from 17%-28%. Rafael's baseline data show stability at 15%. Rafael's intervention data do not overlap his baseline bandwidth and trend upward with some variability. Maria's clinic score improved from a baseline mean of 12.3% and a range of 10%-14% to a mean of 16.5 and a 12%-23% range. Maria's baseline data show a downward trend. Maria's intervention data have variability, show some overlapofher baseline data, and trend upward slightly. Ana's score in clinics improved from abaseline mean of 10.3% and a rangeof8%-15% to a mean of 18% and a 16%-19% range. Ana's baseline datashow a downward trendandare stable at 8% prior to the intervention phase. Ana's 28


intervention data do not overlap her baseline bandwidth, show a clear change during the intervention phase, and trend down slightly. Novak's clinic score improved from a baseline meanof13.6% and a range of 12%-16% to a meanof20.5% andan18%-23% range. Novak's baseline data show stability. Novak's intervention data do not overlap his baseline bandwidth and trend upward. Jelena's clinic score improved from a baseline meanof11.1% and a rangeof7%-17% to a mean of 20.7% and a 17%-24% range. Jelena's baseline data show a trend upward. Jelena's intervention data slightly overlap her baseline bandwidth and trend down slightly.29


AnaoL---...---.j""oJelenaMariaIntervention'JABaselineNovakRafael('///"Intervention/\/\\//'.----iBaselineRodger.-...{\,Interventioni \/\/\I \//\/V./20301BaselinelJCD;:;.Q)(QCDS-O30o3CD....en20:J:;:;:wo23456789 10111223456789 10111223456789101112SessionsFigure3.1Percentageofcorners hitbyparticipants across conditions


Table3.1shows that tournament results were a meanof6.6%anda range from 0%-26%. Five participants improved their state ranking and three participants improved their win/loss ratio. Rodger's tournament scoreinbaseline was a meanof5.7% and a range from0%-11%.No tournament data were collectedinthe intervention phase for Rodger. Rodger's state ranking improved from 354 to 316inthe boys 16 division. His win/loss ratio decreased from 2-8 (20%) to 3-14 (18%). Rafael's tournament score improved from a baseline meanof7.2% and a range from 4%-15% to a mean of 9.3% and a 7%-14% range. Rafael's state ranking improved from 129 to 115inthe boys12division. His win/loss ratio remained consistent from 22-31 (42%) to 25-35 (42%). Maria's baseline tournament score was 6%. No tournament data were collected for Maria during the intervention phase. Maria's state ranking improved from 143 to 139inthe girls10division. Her win/loss ratio increased from 4-6 (40%) to 5-7 (42%). Ana's baseline tournament score was a mean of 2.8% and a range from 1 %-7%. No tournament data were collected for Ana during the intervention phase. Ana's state ranking improved from 657 to 624inthe girls 14 division. Her win/loss ratio increased from 11-20 (35%) to 13-27 (67%). Novak's baseline tournament score was a meanof9.25% and a range from 6%-13%.Notournament data were collected for Novak during the intervention phase. Novak's state ranking dropped slightly from31to32inthe boys10division. His win/loss ratio decreased from 40-18 (69%) to 45-22 (67%). Jelena's baseline tournament score was a rnean of 7% and a range from 0% 26%.Notournament data were collected for Jelena during the intervention31


phase. Jelena's state ranking improved from 120 to 74inthe girls 10 division. Her winlloss ratio increased from 7-7 (50%) to 11-8 (58%). Table 3.1. Tournament Results.Participant Session Phase Set Outcome CornerCorner Freq/Opp12Rodger 1 Baseline 1 Lost 3-6 2 3 5/46=11% Rodger 2 Baseline 2 Lost 0-6 2 2 4/66=6% Rodger 3 Baseline Pro Lost 1-8 0 0 0/50=0% Rafael 1 Baseline 1 Won 6-2 6 2 8/80=10% Rafael 2 Baseline 2 Won 6-2 3 4 7/46=15% Rafael 3 Baseline 1 Won 6-2 3 1 4/104=4% Rafael 4 Baseline 2 Won6-12 2 4/99=4% Rafael 5 Baseline 1 Lost 0-6 3 1 4/81=5% Rafael 6 Baseline 2 Lost 0-6 11 2/45=4% Rafael 7 Intervention 1 Won 6-2118 19/132=14% Rafael 8 Intervention 2 Lost 3-6 5 4 9/124=7% Rafael 9 Intervention 3 Lost 5-7 13 3 16/242=7% Maria 1 Baseline Pro Lost 2-8 23 5/85=6% Ana 1 Baseline 1 Lost 1-6 0 1 1/74=1 % Ana 2 Baseline 2 Lost 1-6 0 1 1/101=1% Ana 3 Baseline Pro Lost 2-8 1 1 2/99=2% Ana 4 Baseline 1 Lost 1-6 2 2 4/60=7% Ana 5 Baseline 2 Lost 0-6 1 1 2/59=3% Novak 1 Baseline 1 Lost 3-6 45 9/112=8% Novak 2 Baseline 2 Lost 1-6 45 9/97=10% Novak 3 Baseline 1 Won 6-0 1 4 5/39=13% Novak 4 Baseline Pro Won 8-4 22 4/72=6% Jelena 1 Baseline 1 Won 6-0 25 7/27%26% Jelena 2 Baseline 2 Won 6-0 10 1/39=3% Jelena 3 Baseline 1 Won 6-0 10 1/21=5% Jelena 4 Baseline 2 Won 6-0 00 0/34=0% Jelena 5 Baseline 1 Lost 2-6 33 6/126=5% Jelena 6 Baseline 2 Lost 0-6 10 1/35=3% 32


Table 3.2. RankingandWin/Loss ResultsParticipant Baseline Results Baseline Results Ranking Ranking Win/Loss Win/LossRodger 354 316 2-8 3-14 Rafael 129 115 22-31 25-35 Maria 143 139 4-6 5-7 Ana 657 624 11-20 13-27 Novak313240-18 45-22 Jelena 120747-7 11-8Social ValiditySocial Validity questionnaires were administeredtothe participants when data collection was complete. Overall, participants found the procedures helpfulinimproving their tennis performance. Social Validity was rated on a 1-5 Likert type scale, with a score of 1 indicating strong disagreement, and a score of 5 indicating strong agreement. The results were as follows: 1) This study improved my ability to hit corners: 4.8. 2) This study mademeabetter tennis player:4.3) Goal setting was a major part of my success: 4.5.4)Public feedback was a major partofmy success:4.5) I enjoyed participating in this study: 4.8. 6) I would recommend this study to a friend: 4.2. 33


Chapter Four Discussion This study showed that the use of goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved the ability to hit corners on the tennis court. The results add to the research supporting goal setting and publicly posted feedback applied to athletic performance. Prior research found that goal setting with publicly posted feedback improved skill level to around 90%. The present study found that the same procedures improved skill level to around 20%. Several differences between the studies could explain this discrepancy. First, previous research applied the procedures to soccer and football among high school and college level athletes. The present study examined these proceduresapplied to tennis among younger athletes. Also, it couldbeargued the skillsinthe present study were more difficult than the skills measuredinprevious research.Inprevious research, the participantshadhigher baseline levels, while baseline levels in the current study were around 12%. It was difficult to know whether the improvement was significant, as previous research has not addressed corner percentage.StrengthsEach participant's score improved from baseline. A moderate sample size was used, indicating the procedures were likely to show generalizability to other participants. The procedures took place during regularly scheduled clinic hours, which was convenient for the participants and their parents. The goal setting34


procedure took very little time and did not cost any money. The public postingoffeedback required the creationofthe charts requiring minimal regular maintenanceandwas cost effective. The procedures were simple and data couldbecollectedbycoaches or even parents hoping to help the player improve their game. The participants seemed to enjoy the procedures, and the social validity results were high. Total lOA scores were high. The data collection took place on site, which allowed the feedback to be immediate.WeaknessesMore session data could have indicated further improvement. The principal investigator was unable to continue collecting data as school concluded for the summerandthe clinics at the tennis academy ended. Also, this precluded follow-up data collection to assess skill maintenance. The corners were very difficult to hit as they were quite small for this age/ability group. Professional players could be expected to hit corners this size approximately 90% of the time; however the participants in this study were not ready for this corner size. A national player within this age group participated in one session identical to baseline procedures and scored 36%. Had the corners been larger, more improvement may have been seen.Onaverage, the participants hit corner264%of the time. For right handed players, Corner 2isthe backhand, whichisgenerally considered harder to hit than the forehand. Comer lOA scores were less than desirable at 74% average. Data were collected by eyesight only, and sometimes it was difficult to tell whetherornot a35


corner was hit as there wasnoindication on the courtofthe corner dimension. This could have been improved had the data collection taken place on a clay court, where the court could have been marked to indicate the corner dimensions. The tournament data should be viewed with considerationofa varietyofconfounding variables, such as the participant and/or his or her opponent could havehada particularly goodorbad day, not representativeofhisorher ability. More tournament data should have been collected. Itisimportant to note here that the last two tournament's scheduled for the present study were cancelled due to noneofthe participant's signing up for the tournaments. It was expected the tournament data wouldbemuch lower than the clinic data, as not every return was appropriate for hitting a corner; however, it was expected the tournament data would improve over time. The tournament data showed no effects. Had the procedures carried on longer, more effects may have been seen. Rafael was the only participant with tournament datainthe interventionphaseandhis tournament data were highly unreliable. During tournaments, reliability data were not collected for four participants. When a corner was hit during tournaments, often the opponent mistakenly called the ball out. It was possible the opponent really thought the ball was out,orthe opponent could have been cheating. Either way, the participant's corner hitting may have been punished. The clinic data took place on a hard court, while each tournarnent took placeonclay courts. The court surface should have remained consistent from36


clinic to tournament sessions. The court surface made a difference in the way theballbounced. The clay slowed the ball down, giving the athlete more time to hit the ball; therefore, if a corner were hit on a clay surface, the opponent would have been more likely to return the ball. Also, on clay, the corner should have been easier for the participant to hit as heorshehadmore time to get set up to hit the ball.Future ResearchFuture researchers should continue to apply behavior analytic techniques to improve tennis performance. The data collection proceduresinthis study couldbeapplied to improving a varietyofshots on the tennis court including the serve, forehand, backhand, volley, etc. Additionally, behavior analytic techniques couldbeused to improve non-athletic behaviors maladaptive to the athletic performance such as negative self talk, rushing the serve, negative body language, etc. Future researchers could apply behavior analytic techniques to reduce miss-calls. Miss-calls were observed in tournament sessions frequently. It was unknown to the principal investigator whether the miss-calls were done intentionally (cheating)orunintentionally. It is possible miss-calls would decrease if the participants were told miss-calls would be recorded by the data collector (reactivity). The present study examined comers 1 and 2 out of six potential corners. Future researchers could collect data on all six corners. Future researchers could change the sizeofcorners according to the ability level of the participant. As37


previously suggested, a shaping procedure couldbeused to improve corner hitting ability. Future researchers could use clay courts for clinic data collection, as the court couldbemarked in such a way the data collectors could see the corner dimensionsandthe participant could not. The participant should not be able to see the corner marks as this could put comer hitting under stimulus control of the marks, decreasing the likelihood of generalization from clinic to tournament sessions. Future researchers could also utilize video taping for reliability scoring purposes. Future researchers could modify the data collection proceduresinthis studytoa variety of sports. Behavior analytic techniques are under-studied in athletics. Behavior analysisisclearly effectiveinimproving sport performance, and applying behavior analysis to sports could be a vehicle to introduce behavior analysis to people who enjoy playingorwatching sports. This could increase awarenessandimprove public relation of behavior analysisingeneral and improve its standing with those who equate behavior analysisoftoday with behavior modificationofyesterday.ConclusionGoal setting with publicly posted feedback was effective in improving comer hitting ability during clinic sessions with intermediate-level tennis players aged 8-15. This study tookanAntecedent-Behavior-Consequence (ABC) approach, as behavior analytic theory suggestsisthe most effective way to change38


behavior. The goal setting acted as a stimulus,oranantecedent to the corner hitting behavior, while the publicly posted feedback acted as the consequence.Itwould be interesting to know whether the goal setting would have been effective without the consequence and/or whether the publicly posted feedback would have been effective without the antecedent. Typically, the participants did not meet their goals, but this seemed irrelevant. The fact that a goal was set seemed more important than reaching the goal. The site for this thesis, McMullen Tennis Complex, continues to utilize the procedures in a modified fashion. The athletes are instructed to set goalsforthemselves during practice and tournaments,andmatch results are posted to the "Wall of Champions."39


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Appendix A: Parental Informed Consent.CNIVERSITY OFSOUTH FLORIDAParentalInformedConsent toParticipatein ResearchInformation to Consider BeforeTakingPartinThis ResearchStudyIRB Study# Researchers at UniversityofSouth Florida (USF) are asking you to allow your child to take partina research study to improve tennis perfonnance.Weare askingyouto take partina researchstudythat is called: Will Goal Setting and Publicly Posted Feedback Affect Tennis Perfonnance? The personwhois in chargeofthis research study is Gretchen Mathews. This person is called the Principal Investigator. Gretchen is advisedbyDrTrevor Stokes at USF. The research willbeconducted at McMullen tennis Complex.Whyisthis research being done?We hope to improve yourchild'stennis perfonnancebysetting goals and giving feedback through coaching about hitting cornersonthe tennis court.Shouldyourchild takepartinthis study?This fonn tells you about this research study. After reading through thisfonnandhavingthe research explained to youbysomeoneconducting this research,youcandecideifyouwant your child to takepartin it. Youmayhavequestions thisfonndoesnotanswer.Ifyou do have questions, feel free to ask the study doctororthe person explaining the study, asyougo along. Takeyourtime to think about theinfonnationthat has been provided to you. Havea friendorfamilymembergo over thefonnwith you. Talkitover with someoneyoutrust.This form explains:Whythis study is being done.44


What will happen during this study and what your child will need to do. Whether there is any chance your child might experience potential benefits from beinginthis study. The risksofhaving problems because your child is in this study. How the information collected about your child during this study will be used and with whom it may be shared.Itisupto you.Ifyou choose to letyourchildbeinthestudy,thenyoushouldsigntheform.Ifyoudonotwant your child to take partinthis study, you shouldnotsign the form.Whyisyourchild being asked totakepart?Weareasking your child to take part in this research study because he or she is a good tennis player who may benefit from these procedures designed to improve tennis performance.Whatwillhappenduringthis study?During coaching we will observe how often your child hits comers while using the ball machine. We will then provide an opportunity for your child to set goals and receive feedbackontheir performance, which will be postedonthe "wallofchampions." These procedures are consistent with currently accepted good coaching practices. These procedures will continue for up to three sessions a week for six weeks. Six players willbeinvited to participate in this study.Whatotherchoices does my child haveifhe/she doesnotparticipate?You have the alternative to choose not to allow your child to participate in this research study. The alternative choice is coaching as usual.Willyourchild bepaidfor takingpartin this study?No payment will be received for participating in this study.Whatwillitcost you to letyourchild takepartinthis study?There is no cost involved in addition to the usual coastofparticipating in the coaching.Whatarethepotential benefits toyourchildifyou takepartinthis study?Your child may benefitbyimproving their tennis performancebybeing able to hitmorecomers, whichmaybenefit their competitive tennis performance.Whataretherisksifyourchild takespartinthis study?There are no known risks to your child should shelhe take part in this study.Thetreatmentmightnothelp. Right now we do not know for sureifit will help.Theremaybe side effects. There are no foreseen side effectsofthese procedures, which are consistent with current coaching practices.45


Whatifyour child gets sick or hurt while you are in the study?Ifyour child needs emergency care: Go to your nearest hospital or emergency room right away. Call 911Itis importantthat you tell the doctors at the hospitaloremergency room that your child is participating in a research study. USF does not have an emergencyroomorprovide emergency care.Ifyou do NOT need emergency care: Go to your child's regular doctor.Itis importantthat you tell yourchild'sregular doctor that shefhe is participating in a research study.Ifpossible, take acopyofthis consent form with youwhenyou go. The USF Medical Clinics may notbeable to give the kindofhelp your child needs. Youmayneed to get help somewhere else.Ifyourchild is harmed while taking part in the study:Ifyou believe your child has been harmed becauseofsomething that is done duringthestudy, you should call Gretchen Mathews at 850-212-1924 immediately. University processes and procedures regarding human research are in place to help prevent any injuries during the courseofstudies. Should you believe, however, thatyouhave been hurtorifyou get sick becauseofsomething that is done during the study,youshould call Gretchen Mathews at 850-212-1924 immediately Please understand that the UniversityofSouth Florida is unabletopay tor the costofanycareortreatment that might be necessary because your child gets hurtorsick while taking part in this study.Iftreatment cost is incurred, it could be paid by either the sponsorofthestudy(ifthey have agreed)oryou. Also, the University may notpayfor any wagcs youmayloseifyou are harmedbythis study.TheUniversityofSouth Florida is a state agency and, as such,maynotbesued in some instances If, however, it can be shown that a USF employeeoragent, such as your child's study doctor, is negligent in performing the study in awaythat harms your child during the study,youmaybeable to sue, but the amountofdamages (money) you could recover wouldbelimitedbystate law..Medical costs that result from research-related harmmaynot qualify as regular medical costs.TheUniversityofSouth Floridamaynotbeallowed to bill your child's insurance company, Medicare,orMedicaid for such costs. You should ask your insurerifyouhaveany questions about your insurer's willingness to pay under these circumstances.Thecosts related to your child's care and treatment becauseofsomething that is done during the study willbeyour responsibility.You can also call the USF Self-Insurance Programs (SIP) at 1-813-974-8008ifyouthink: Your child was harmed because sfhe took partinthis study. Someone from the study did something wrong that caused your child harm,ordid46


notdosomething they should have done. Ask the SIP to look into what happened.How will you keepmychild's information confidential?There are federal laws that say we must keep your child's study records private.Wewill keep the recordsofthis study privatebykeeping recordsinlocked filing cabinets at the McMullen Tennis Complex. We will keep the recordsofthis study confidentialbynot revealing participants identities in any discussionofthis study. However, certain people may need to see your child's study records.Bylaw, anyone who looks at your child's records must keep them completely confidential. The only people who willbeallowed to see these records are: Certain government and university people who need to know more about the study. For example, individuals who provide oversight on this study may needtolook at your records. These include the UniversityofSouth Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB) and thestaffthat work for the IRB. Individuals who work for USF that provide other kindsofoversight to research studiesmayalso need to look at your records. Other individuals who may look at your records include: the DepartmentofHealth and Human Services (DHHS) and from the Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP). This is done to make sure that we are doing the studyinthe right way. They also need to make sure that we are protecting your rights and your safetyWhatifnewinformationbecomes availableaboutthestudy?During the courseofthis study,wemayfind more information that could be important to you. This includes information that, once learned, might cause you to change your mind about having your child be in this study.Wewill notif'y youassoonaspossibleifsuch information becomes available.What happensifyoudecide not to let your child take part in this study?You should only let your child take part in this studyifbothofyou want to. You or child should not feel that there is any pressure to take part in the study to please the research staff.You can decide after signing this informed consent document that younolonger want your child to take part in this study.Wewill keep you informedofany new developments that might affect your willingness to allow your child to continue to participate in the study. However, you can decideifyou want your child to stop taking part in the study for any reason at any time.Ifyou decide you want your child to stop taking part in the study,tell the studystaffassoonasyou can. Your child can continueinthe regular coaching program.47


Evenifyouwantyourchildtostayinthestudy,theremaybereasonswewillneedtotakehim/heroutofit.Yourchildmaybetakenoutofthisstudyif: Your child is not coming for coaching sessions.You can get the answers to your questions, concerns,orcomplaints.Ifyou have any questions, concernsorcomplaints about this study, call Gretchen Mathews at 850-212-1924.Ifyou have questions about yourchild'srights, general questions, have complaintsorconcerns,orquestions about yourchild'srights as a person taking part in this study, call the DivisionofResearch Integrity and Complianceofthe UniversityofSouth Florida at (813) 974-9343.Ifyour child experiences an adverse eventorunanticipated problem call Gretchen Mathews at 850-212-1924StatementOfParticipation in ResearchItis up to both parents to decide whether you want your child to take partinthis study.Ifyou want your child to take part, please read the statements below and sign the formifthestatements are true. I freely givemyconsenttoletmychildtakepartinthisstudyI understand thatbysigning this form I am agreeing to letmychild take part in research. I have received a copyofthis form to take with me. SignatureofParentofChild Taking Part in Study PrintedNameofParentofChild Taking Part in Study SignatureofParentofChild Taking Part in Study Printed NameofParentofChild Taking Part in Study Date DateSignaturesofboth parents are required unless one parent isnotreasonably available, deceased, unknown, legally incompetent, or only one parenthassole legal responsibilityforthe care and custodyofthechild. When enrolling a child participant,ifonly one signature is obtained, the person obtaining the consentmustcheck onofthe reasons listed below: The signatureofonly one parent was obtained because:oThe other parent is not reasonable available. Explain:. _48


oThe other parent is unknownoThe other parent is legally incompetentoThe parent who signed has sole legal responsibility for the care and custodyofthe child SignatureofWitness PrintedNameofWitnessDateStatementofPerson Obtaining Informed ConsentI have carefully explained to the person taking part in the study what heorshe can expect. I hereby certify that when this person signs this form, to the bestofmyknowledge, heorshe understands: What the study is about. What procedures/interventions/investigational drugsordevices will be used. What the potential benefits might be. What the known risks might be. How the information collected about the person will be used. I also certify that he or she does not have any problems that could make it hard to understand what it meanstotake part in this research. This person speaks the language that was used to explain this research. This person reads well enough to understand this form or,ifnot, this person is able to hear and understand when the form is read to him or her. This person does not have a medical/psychological problem that would compromise comprehension and therefore makes it hard to understand what is being explained and can, therefore, give informed consent. This person is not under any typeofanesthesiaoranalgesic thatmaycloud their judgmentormake it hard to understand what is being explained and, therefore, can be considered competent to give informed consent. SignatureofPerson Obtaining Informed Consent Printed NameofPerson Obtaining Informed Consent49Date


AppendixB:Child Assent.UNIVERSITY OFSOUTHFLORIDAAssent to Participate in Research UniversityofSouth Florida Information for Individuals under the Ageof18 Who Are Being AskedToTake PartinResearch Studies Will Goal Setting and Publicly Posted Feedback Affect Tennis Performance? WHYAMI BEING ASKED TO TAKE PART IN THIS RESEARCH? You are being askedtotake part in a research study about tennis performance. You are being asked to take part in this research study because you are a good tennisplayer who could benefit from additional instruction. You are eligible for this study because you are aged 7-17, you areinthe top 100inyour age/gender division, and your coach identified you as having potential to play professional tennisinthe future. If you take partinthis study, you will be oneofabout six people in this study. WHO IS DOING THE STUDY? The personinchargeofthis study is Gretchen Mathews (PI)ofThe UniversityofSouth Florida. She is being guided in this research by Trevor Stokes, PhD.ofThe UniversityofSouth Florida..WHATISTHE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY? By doing this study, we hope to learn whether goal setting and publicly posted feedback will improve your abilityofhitting corners 1 and2.WHERE IS THE STUDY GOING TO TAKE PLACE AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST? The study will be take place at The McMullen Tennis Complex. You will be asked to come to McMullen three times per week for six weeks during the study. Eachofthose visits will take about 20 minutes. The total amountoftime you will be askedtovolunteer for this study is six hours over the next six weeks. WHAT WILL I BE ASKED TO DO? Using a ball machine, you will be asked to aim for corners 1 and 2 alternatelyfor200 balls. Research Assistants will calculate how many corners you hit. Every week you will be asked to set a goal for how many corners you can hit. After each session, the numberofcorners you hit will be posted on the "WallofChampions" for everyone to see.50


WHATTHINGS MIGHT HAPPENTHATARENOTPLEASANT?To the bestofourknowledge, the things you will be doing will not harm youorcause you any additional unpleasant experience.WILLI GET BETTER IF I TAKEPARTIN THIS STUDY?Wecannot promise you that anything good will happen if you decide to take partinthis study. DO I HAVE TOTAKEPART IN THESTUDY?You should talk with your parentsoranyone else that you trust about taking partinthis study. If you do not want to take part in the study, that is your decision. You should take partinthis study because you really want to volunteer. IF I DON'TWANTTO TAKEPARTIN THE STUDY,WHATWILLHAPPEN?Ifyou do not want to take partinthe study, you can continue to participateinclinic sessions as usual.WILLI RECEIVEANYREWARDS FOR TAKINGPARTIN THE STUDY? You will not receive any reward for taking partinthis study. WHOWILLSEE THE INFORMATION I GIVE? Your information will be added to the information from other people taking part in the study so no one will know who you are. Your results will be posted with your nameonthe "WallofChampions." CANiCHANGEMYMIND AND QUIT?Ifyou decide to take partinthe study you still have the right to change your mind later. No one will think badlyofyouifyou decide to quit. Also, the people who are running this study may needforyou to stop. If this happens, they will tell you why.WHATIF I HAVE QUESTIONS? You can ask questions about this studyatany time. You can talk with your parentsorother adults that you trust about this study. You can talk with the person who is asking you to volunteer. If you thinkofother questions later, you can ask them.Assent to ParticipateI understand what the person running this study is asking me to do. I have thought aboutthis and agree to take partinthis study. Nameofperson agreeing to take part in the study Date Name of person providing information to subject Date51


AppendixC:Tennis ThesisClinicDataCollectionSheet.Date:__Participant:DataCollector:Goal:--Bali1,2,In,Ball1,2,In,1,2,In,Ball1,2,In,1,2,In,Out, Net, Out, Net, Out, Net, Out, Net, Out, Net,12161812226282 3236383 4 24 64 84 5256585 62666686 7 27 476787 82848688 9294969891030 507090113151719112325272921333 5373931434 5474941535 55759516365676961737 5777971838587898193959799920406080 100Total1:TotalIn:TotalNet:Total2:TotalOut:Total----:52


AppendixD:Tennis Thesis Tournament Data Collection Sheet. Data Collector: Participant: Date: Location: Surface:__Division: Round: Set:__Outcome: _Ball1,2,In,Ball1,2,In,Ball1,2,In,Ball1,2,In,Ball1,2,In, Out, Out, Out, Out,Out,Net, -Net, --Net,-Net, Net, --1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 910101010 1011 1111111112121212 12 13 13 1313 131414 14 14 1415 151515151616 16 16 16 17 171717 1718181818 18I19 19 19 19 192020 20 202021 2121 21 2122 2222 22 22 23 2323 23 23 24 24 24 24 2425 25 2525 2526 2626 26 2627 2727 27 272828282828292929292930 3030 30 30Total1:_ Total2:._Totalln:_ TotaIOut: _53Total Net: Total ----:----


AppendixE:Social Validity Questionnaire Indicate how much you agree with each statement from 1-5 with five meaning strongly agree, and one meaning strongly disagree.1.This study improved my ability to hitcorners:1234Strongly Disagree Neutral2.This study mademea better tennis player:1234Strongly Disagree Neutral3.Goal setting was a major partofmy success1234Strongly Disagree Neutral4.Public feedback was a major partofmy success1234Strongly Disagree Neutral5Strongly Agree5Strongly Agree5Strongly Agree5Strongly Agree5.I enjoyed participatinginthis study123Strongly Disagree Neutral6.I would recommend this study to a friend123Strongly Disagree Neutral4 4 5Strongly Agree5Strongly Agree What could have been done to improve this study? What did you like most about this study? Additional Feedback: _54


AppendixF:Clinic Session Data Session 1: Friday,5/2/08Participant 1 2 InOutNet._.Freq/Opp Rodger 5 55825 7 0 10% Ana 6 65528 50 12% Rafael 213729 20 15% Maria 5 9 53 27 50 14% Jelena 7 37118 10 10% NovakNIASession 2: Monday,5/5/08Participant 12 InOutNet.........Frea/Opp Rodaer 8 2772112 0 10% Ana 9662325 1 15% Rafael 698818 4 0 15% Maria 211762130 13% Jelena 2 57730 3 03 7% Novak 39 60364 06 12% Session3:Wednesday,5/7/08Participant 1 2 InOutNet----Frea/Opp Rodger 37 662113 0 10% Ana 656828 40 11% RafaelNIAMaria 5,571290 0 10% Jelena 35703000 8% Novak 4 86333 40 12% Session 4: Friday,5/9/08Participant 12InOutNet.........Freq/Opp Rodger 5 85936 5 0 13% Ana 35 68 17150 8% Rafael 6116824 80 17% Maria 2 107816 60 12% Jelena 667322 50 12% Novak 4127028 2 0 16% Session5:Monday,5/12108Participant 12 InOutNet----Freq/Opp Rodaer 811553213 0 19% Ana 17718210 8% Rafael 7 10811171 17% Maria 2 1485114 0 16% Jelena 3 87719 40 11% Novak 4115829121 15%55


AppendixF:Continued Session6:Wednesday, 5/14/08 Participant 12InOutNet._.Freq/Opp Rodger 6166821110 22% Ana 26751312 0 8% Rafael13157126 30 28% Maria 3 168010 10 0 19% Jelena 9 87324 30 17% Novak 66 67 26 7 0 12% Session7:Fridav, 5/16/08 Participant 12InOutNet.....Freq/Opp Rodoer 61162 30 80 17% AnaN/ARafael 7 147026 40 21% Maria 2117717 60 13% Jelena 5 8653140 13% Novak 96 62 35 30 15% Session 8: Monday, 5/19/08 Participant 12InOutNet----Freq/Opp Rodger 10 19613180 29% AnaN/ARafael N/A Maria 6177122 7 0 23% Jelena 567222 60 11% Novak 21154 40 60 13% Session9:Wednesday,5/21/08Participant12InOutNet..........Freq/Opp,Rodoer12126336 1 0 24% Ana 3 16 64 26 10 0 19% Rafael 10157716 7 0 25% Maria 310851140 13% Jelena 81365 28 7 0 21% Novak 71164 29 70 18% Session 10: Friday, 5/23/08 Participant 12InOutNet--_..Freq/Opp Rodoer 81149 45 60 19% AnaN/ARafaelN/AMaria 1217322 50 22% Jelena12 1269 30 10 24% NovakN/A56


AppendixF:ContinuedSession 11: Thursday,5/29/08Participant12In Out Net---Freq/OppRodqer121165 24110 23%Ana4 156426 10 0 19%Rafael9 12 59 40 10 21%Maria4 107722 10 14%Jelena N/A Novak10 13 63342I1 23%Session 12: Fridav,5/30/08Participant12InOutNet--.-Freq/OppRodqer14 9 78 20 2 0 23%Ana51169 24 70 16%Rafael N/A Maria N/A Jelena3 14 70 18 12017%Novak N/A57


About the Author Gretchen Mathews is a MasterofArts Degree studentofApplied Behavior Analysis at the UniversityofSouth Florida. She lives in Clearwater, Florida.

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Publicly posted feedback with goal setting to improve tennis performance
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ABSTRACT: A review of the literature regarding Applied Behavior Analysis within various sports settings shows that behavioral coaching is more effective than traditional coaching methods. Specifically, goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved the athletic performance of college level football players in two studies, and high school soccer players in one study. The present study found goal setting and publicly posted feedback improved tennis performance for six participants. A multiple baseline across participants design was used. Specifically, the participants improved their corner hitting ability, which is an important competitive shot in tennis. The participants improved their corner hitting ability from an average of 11.8% in baseline to 19.6% in intervention.
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