Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Action research on a tactical approach to teaching a pre-service tennis class

Klara Dianna Gubacs, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this action research study was to investigate pre-service physical education teachers' and their teacher educator's perceptions regarding the implementation of a tactical approach in an 8-week tennis class. Participants were 13 pre-service teachers and the teacher educator, as researcher, in a tennis activity course. Data collection techniques included teacher educator's self-reflective journal, participants' reflections, videotaped class observations, structured interviews, pre- and post knowledge test and a demographic questionnaire. Game play was videotaped for analysis before and after instruction and the Game Performance Assessment Instrument (GPAI) was used to code the data. Reflections and field notes from videotaped class observations, and interviews were analyzed through constant comparison. Demographic questionnaire was analyzed using descriptive statistics while pre- and post knowledge and game performance were analyzed using ANOVAs. Based on results from the questionnaire (years and type of playing experience, self-rating) pre-service teachers were grouped as either inexperienced or experienced. Results from the ANOVA, with the exception of Base Index, yielded a non-significant interaction effect. The inexperienced group's Base Index was significantly higher at post-test (M = 4.32) than at pre-test (M = 1.13), p < .05. Knowledge test results indicated that at the pretest the experienced group scored significantly higher (M = 13.33) than the inexperienced group (M = 10.57), p < .05. Both groups significantly improved from pre to posttest. Teaching using a tactical approach resulted in an increased content knowledge for the teacher educator as well as a shift in overall beliefs about games teaching. For example, learning to use the question/answer (Q&A) segment of lessons occurred in a three-step learning continuum: imitation, rephrase, and dual-directional conversation that shifted the role of teacher from information giver to facilitator. Pre-service teachers indicated that the Q&A segments made them adjust their tactical thinking and as such provided an important source of feedback during game play. Pre-service teachers indicated that learning via a tactical approach was a meaningful experience for the following reasons: (a) the combined learning of tactical and skill execution elements, (b) the skills were immediately applied in game situations, (c) the class was enjoyable (interesting, challenging), and (d) students learned a new assessment instrument.

Subject Area

Physical education|Curricula|Teaching|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Gubacs, Klara Dianna, "Action research on a tactical approach to teaching a pre-service tennis class" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978503.