Visuomotor Reaction Time for Elite Table Tennis Athletes

Dr. Russel Lazarus, October 27, 2021

Research published in 2019 shows that an athlete’s visuomotor reaction time (VMRT) is strongly dependent on their visual skills.

The research outlined below was published in the Frontiers of Behavioral Neuroscience in July 2019, conducted at  the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, LUNEX International University of Health, Exercise and Sports, Differdange, Luxembourg.


The participants included 37 young elite international table tennis players (18 male, 19 female, mean age: 13.5 years) from 23 nations.


Two different motion velocity conditions were presented.

The participants then performed a visuomotor reaction task in response to the visual motion stimuli presented.

Visuomotor performance was evaluated by:

  1. Measuring the electromyographic (EMG) onset as well as the VMRT.
  1. Using a 64-channel electroencephalography (EEG) system to investigate the stimulus and response-locked event-related potentials (ERPs) in the brain’s visual motion sensitive area as well as the supplementary motor cortex to identify the speed of cortical visual and motor information processing.

Correlation and multiple regression analyses identified the neural processes to determine the visuomotor performance.

To improve your reaction speed, see a sports vision eye doctor near you.

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Results of these studies are summarized below.

The VMRT (232 vs. 258 ms, P < 0.001, d = −2.33) and EMG onset (181 vs. 206 ms, P < 0.001, d = −2.14) were accelerated in the fast motion velocity condition which was accompanied by an earlier stimulus-locked N2 (187 vs. 193 ms, P < 0.001, d = −0.80) and later response-locked N2-r (17 vs. −0.1 ms, P < 0.001, d = 1.04).

The N2 and N2-r latencies were correlated with EMG onset and VMRT in both velocity conditions and explained between 80% and 90% of the variance in visuomotor reaction speed.


The results validate our previous findings and support the importance of neural visual processes for the visuomotor reaction speed across different visuomotor demanding sports and age groups.

This research suggests the visual system might be a promising target for specific visual diagnostics and training interventions.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Sports Vision 

Schedule an eye exam with a sports vision eye doctor near you and you may learn how to improve your reaction speed.