Volleyball is a dynamic game which requires a high level of visual skills. The first aim of this study was to investigate the several aspects of reaction times (RT) to visual stimuli in volleyball players (12) compared to non-athletic subjects (12). By using the tests included in the Vienna Test System (Schuhfried, Austria), simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT) and peripheral reaction time (PRT) were examined. The second aim of this study was to assess the neurophysiological basis of early visual sensory processing in both examined groups. We measured two sets of pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials (VEPs) during monocular central field stimulation (Reti Scan, Roland Consult, Germany). The latencies of waves N75, P100 and N135 were determined. We observed significantly shorter (p<0.05) total reaction time to stimuli appearing in the central and peripheral field of vision in the volleyball players compared to non-athletes. With regard to SRT and CRT the main differences between the groups appeared in pre-motor reaction times. Volleyball players had shorter VEPs P100 wave latencies (p<0.05) than the non-athlete group. The results indicate faster signal transmission in visual pathways in athletes than in non-athletes. This fact can be attributed to the effect of rapid visual-activity-demanding sports on the central nervous system.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.