In previous study, we utilized the frame of course-of-action theory to analyze the activity of expert ping pong players during matches. The results showed that (a) they validate, invalidate, or build new knowledge during games in reaction to the doubt of the energetic scenarios they encounter (Seve, Saury, Ria, & Durand, 2003; Seve, Saury, Theureau, & Durand, 2002), (b) their interpretations are embedded in a lively of building meaning (Seve, Saury, Leblanc, & Durand, 2005), and (c) they try to influence opponents' judgments (Poizat, Seve, and Rossard, 2006).
From such analyses, we suggested a grounded theory of elite ping pong players' activity during games (Seve et al., 2006). This model of activity takes into consideration the person tabletennis participant's activity. The objective of the present exploratory study was to characterize ping pongplayers' interactions during games by assessing the common context between two players as well as the processes regulating this shared context. In ping pong, top ping pong paddles, as in other sports, two players can be participated in aggressive interaction (two opponents in a singles match) or combined interaction (two spouses in a doubles match).
Two athletes are competing should they try to attain goals that mutually interfere and if they strive to restrain the interference so as to facilitate only their particular activities and force the opponent into making errors. Two athletes are cooperating if they both strive to achieve goals which don't interfere with the aims of the other and should they try to handle the hindrance to facilitate their particular tasks and the activities of the other one (e.g., Castellfranchi, 1998; Hoc, 2001; Vanderhaegen, Chalme, Anceaux, & Millot, 2006).
The study of competitive and cooperative interactions is a key to gaining insight into how athletes share information during athletic interactions. We thus analyzed contextual data sharing between two competitions during a tabletennis singles game and two spouses throughout a ping pong doubles match. The study was focused on two important elements of contextual information published: (a) the nature and content of this information that was shared between the gamers and (b) the processes regulating the data sharing.
To describe the data which has been shared between the players and to determine how they continued and produced this info sharing, we reconstructed and compared their courses of activity during both of these kinds of matches. Previous studies revealed that gamers take several situational factors into account during games in order to behave and these factors vary with the moment in the game (Seve et al., 2005). Based on these findings, we hoped to find great diversity in the nature and content of this information that was shared.
Furthermore, given the uncertain character of unfolding matches (Seve et al., 2002, 2003), we expected the information that was shared will concern the here and now of the scenario more than stabilized knowledge. Lastly, we anticipated a difference in the processes regulating data sharing based on if the sharing has been in pursuit of aggressive goals (opponents in singles games) or combined goals (spouses in doubles matches).
Four national ping pong players agreed to take part in the analysis. We requested their approval when the contest was over. Even though the players did not request to remain anonymous, they had been given pseudonyms to ensure some degree of confidentiality top ping pong tables: Chris, Greg, Jules, and Paul. Aged between 23 and 35 years in the time of this study (M = 27.25, SD = 5.44), the participants had been playing ping pong for 13 to 25 years (M = 16.75, SD = 5.56). Their French ranking ranged from 56th to 84th (M = 74.25, SD = 12.61).
The gamers' action was analyzed in two matches. We analyzed the activity of two partners in a doubles match (cooperative interaction) and two competitions during a singles match (competitive interaction). These matches happened during two national contests. The doubles match was held in October 2002 during the National Team Championship. Jules and Paul were partners and the match lasted 12 minutes. Their opponents were ranked 19th and 78th in France. Jules and Paul won with a score of 3-0. Jules and Paul had been routine partners in doubles matches for the past 3 decades. The singles game was held in February 2002 during the National Individual Championship. It pitted Chris from Greg and lasted 37 minutes. Greg won with a score of 4-2. Greg and Chris had played against each other three times since the beginning of the season.
The data collection in this analysis followed the procedure defined for course-of-action analysis (e.g., Seve et al., 2003; Theureau, 2003). Two different types of data were accumulated: (a) continuous video records of the players' behaviours during games and (b) verbalizations during post-match interviews.
The camera has been positioned above and behind the desk and has been set for a wide-angle, fixed, overhead view that framed the table along with the motion of two or four players, the scoreboard, and the umpire.
The verbalization data were gathered from individual self-confrontation interviews with each of the players. This interview method contains facing a individual with his or her activity in a particular situation. The current interviews have been conducted as soon as possible after the games, based on the players' accessibility (from 24 to 48 hr post-match).
The interviews lasted 50 minutes for Chris (singles), 56 minutes for Greg (singles), 21 minutes for Jules (doubles), and 27 minutes for Paul (doubles). To prevent possible biases, the coach had agreed not to analyze the game with all the players until the interviews were finished. During the interview, the player seen the videotape of the game together with a few of the writers. The player was asked to explain and comment on his action during the match (i.e., to describe what he was doing, feeling, thinking, and perceiving during the game).
The researcher's drives nervous activities (what are you doing?) , sensations (what senses are you currently experiencing?) , perceptions (what are you perceiving?) , attention (what has your attention?) , preoccupations (what are you trying to perform?) , emotions (what emotions are you experiencing?) , and ideas and interpretations (what exactly are you interested in?) .
To limit retrospective rationalizations about the actions being viewed on the video recording, and the researcher frequently stopped the video prior to a stage and asked the participant to explain and comment on his forthcoming action. The player then viewed the point in drama and completed his descriptions.
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The interviews were listed in their entirety by means of a camera and a tape recorder. All of the interviews were conducted by precisely the same researcher, who'd been a nationally rated ping pong player. He had already conducted self-confrontation interviews of the sort in prior studies and was experienced in interviewing techniques.