Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs


G. Beth Birky

Publication Date



Physical education teachers must consider the most effective way to deliver instruction and feedback for maximum student learning. Counterfactual feedback assists in engaging visual (internal) and auditory augmented feedback in order to create an optimal learning environment, which will produce the highest skill level in the shortest time possible (Sigrist, et al, 2011). Counterfactual feedback promotes critical thinking as it applies to the performance of a skill. Critical thinking is linked to better decision-making, reasoning, problem-solving, and reflective judgment in individuals (Lodewyck, 2009). Counterfactual feedback relies on the teacher asking a directed question as feedback after a skill performance or after a series of practice attempts. The question should engage the students critical thinking about the specifics of the skill. As the student considers the answer to the question, the feedback information gained from connecting the counterfactual feedback to the intended behavior will allow the student to manipulate or adjust the next performance (Epstude & Roese, 2010). The choice to alter and evaluate the subsequent performance gives the student more control and autonomy which will increase intrinsic motivation to continue the activity. The multiple case study methodology was used with beginning participants. Beginning tennis skills were taught to each of the participants in a one-on-one practice sessions, two times a week for eight weeks. Journal entries, in-depth interviews, researcher observations, and video recordings were used for primary data collection. Data was thoroughly analyzed by initially coding the within case studies, discovering the common themes permeating the responses by each participant. Secondly, commonalities were explored through cross-case analysis by comparing interview answers of the same questions posed to the participants. Results indicated increased self-efficacy, improved critical thinking, and enhanced participants' perception of their ability in tennis. These findings demonstrated the use of counterfactual feedback as a way to increase self-efficacy, critical thinking, and personal perceptions for beginning tennis players. Outcomes from this study will assist physical educators and coaches in acquiring another option for feedback delivery when teaching beginning tennis players.'


Counterfactual Feedback, Tennis, Critical thinking, motor skills, motivation

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hushman, Glen

Second Committee Member

Barnes, John

Third Committee Member

Tingstrom, Cathy