Purpose: In the present study the ForeGround test, a new procedure to assess forehand groundstroke performance in rally patterns authentic to low- and intermediate-level tennis play, was evaluated as to its value for research purposes.
Methods: The ForeGround protocol was enacted on a midi tennis court. It consists of 18 programmed rallies, reproducing neutral and offensive situations as they occur during midi tennis game play, driven by a test leader. Quality of the forehand groundstrokes was determined from simultaneous measurements of success rate, precision of lateral and longitudinal ball placement, and ball velocity. A velocity-precision (VP) and velocity-precision-success (VPS) index were calculated to reveal interactive effects. The validity and sensitivity of the ForeGround procedure in the target population were determined by verifying whether test scores reflected minor differences in tennis experience.
Results: More experienced players scored significantly higher than beginning players for success rate, ball velocity, precision of ball placement, VP, and VPS. High to moderate intraclass correlation coefficients in this open skill test indicated satisfactory test reliability.
Conclusion: It was concluded that the ForeGround procedure is a concise, authentic, sensitive, accurate, reliable, and valid instrument for the assessment of forehand groundstroke quality in low- to intermediate-level tennis players.