SPEEiD – High performance in tennis

Background

Tennis is one of the largest and most popular individual sports in Sweden, and has become a true physical challenge requiring strength, speed, power, agility, mobility, aerobic fitness and anaerobic power output. The discussion of a long-term development plan gets more important for young players to follow, not the least when it comes to the development of strength and aerobic/anaerobic fitness.

Aim

The aims are to assess internal and external workload on-court by measuring the aerobic/anaerobic capacity, mechanical workload and link that to the forces acting on the shoulder and spine during the service motion.

Method

15 elite players were tested at the Good to Great tennis academy in Stockholm for oxygen uptake during active tennis play and mechanical workload (Qualisys 3D motion system). Kinetic data was collected wirelessly via pressure soles that record the players' load.

The Qualisys system consists of 15-20 cameras positioned around the tennis court in order to collect 3D kinetic data. The workload is estimated as a ratio between mechanical work and oxygen uptake. All information is analysed in a software program "AnyBody" where musculoskeletal simulations can be performed.

The laboratory test-session was initiated with a progressive 10-minute warm-up on a treadmill followed by a 3-minute rest period. The velocity kept constant throughout the test while the workload increased by inclination until the athlete experienced voluntary exhaustion. The participants performed in total 4 drills, 30 sets and 130 strokes divided by 90 forehands (69%) and 40 backhands (31%). An experienced professional coach hand-fed new tennis balls to the player at a speed determined by the completion of the previous shot and movement of the player to the next shot (i.e., self-selected).

Significance

We expect the results to be of high importance in the long-term perspective for a large group of national coaches and adolescent athletes in several overhead sports.

Research Principles

Karolinska Institute

Funding

The Norwegian Naprapathic Association

Contact

Fredrik Johansson

Affiliated to research
C6 Institute of Environmental Medicine

Eva E. Skillgate

Visiting professor
C6 Institute of Environmental Medicine
JC
Content reviewer:
05-04-2022