Table Tennis and Reaction Times

Rowden April 2017

● Factors affecting reaction time include age, sex, left or right hand, peripheral vision, practice, fatigue, breathing cycles, exercise, personality, focus and intelligence. Many scientific studies in different sports have proved that men have faster reaction times than women in both the audio (ART) and visual (VRT) categories.

The speed of response in any individual is due to the lag between identification of the stimulus and the beginning of muscle contraction; motor responses in males are comparatively stronger than in females. Reaction times for trained athletes are much faster than those of ordinary people who exercise little and sedentary types of both sexes will be similar. In the case of top-level athletes responses will be much faster than the norm and there is generally a gender gap of between 20 to 30 milliseconds between males and females. However with VRT this does not apply to left eye – left hand dominant females. This suggests that female left-handers have an intrinsic neurological advantage.
● It is also well known that left-handers have better developed right hemispheres and therefore better developed motor, attentional and spatial functions, all supporting the notion that left-handed people have neuro-anatomically-based advantages in performing visuospatial and visuomotor tasks. In fact studying major events in tennis and table tennis over several decades it is found that left-handers are significantly over-represented in the final stages of major events.

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