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Title: Gender differences in target throwing skills and dart playing performance : evidence from elite dart players
Author: Duffy, Linda
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2002
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A series of experimental and quasi-experimental research were conducted to investigate gender differences and differences across levels of skill amongst elite dart players. Experiments 1 and 1a employed an identical experimental setting and were designed to investigate gender differences in target throwing accuracy and attitudes towards target throwing among undergraduate students and elite dart players. A further aim was to investigate differences between level of skill for the elite players. Results showed an overall significant superiority for men in target throwing accuracy, moreover, analyses of questionnaire data found significant gender differences in attitudes towards target throwing. Experiment 2 examined whether gender differences in target throwing accuracy may be eliminated if elite dart players undertook the same target throwing task as in Experiment 1 a using their non-preferred hand. The results of Experiment 2 showed that when using their non-preferred hand gender differences in target throwing accuracy were eliminated. In Study 1 data from the same elite dart players employed in Experiments 1 a and 2 were correlated with archival data, in the form of single dart averages, taken from a 'real world' dart playing environment. A strong relationship was found between the two dependent measures for the men's data whereas results for women, although in the same direction, did not reach statistical significance. Using single dart averages as the dependent measure, Study 2 investigated the extent of gender differences across three levels of skill. Results showed that the extent of gender differences was far-reaching with data from the lowest skill level of men players 8 being significantly superior to that of the highest skill level for women players. There were also uniformly predictable significant within gender differences for men across levels of skill but, interestingly, this was not the case for women. Study 3 explored whether physical and experiential factors, namely, height, arm length and career span may have an impact on the significant gender differences found in dart playing performance. Analysis of the data found that even when physical and experiential factors were controlled for there were still significant gender differences in dart playing performance. By way of an ex-post facto research approach Study 4 employed a semi-structured interview technique, similar to that used by Ericsson, Krampe and Tesch-Romer (1993), the aim of which was to investigate the development of elite dart players representing two levels of skill. The results revealed no significant differences on demographic variables namely, age, starting age and career span. Variables related to particular dart playing activities were also investigated. In brief, results showed evidence to suggest that deliberate practice could account for differences in performance across levels of skill but not for the superiority of men over women. Implications of these findings and suggestions for follow up research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available