Girard, O and Millet, GP. Physical Determinants of Tennis Performance in Competitive Teenage Players. J Strength Cond Res 23(6): 1867-1872, 2009-It is unclear how physical attributes influence tennis-specific performance in teenage players. The aims of this study were (a) to examine the relationships between speed, explosive power, leg stiffness, and muscular strength of upper and lower limbs; and (b) to determine to what extent these physical qualities relate to tournament play performance in a group of competitive teenage tennis players. A total of 12 male players aged 13.6 ± 1.4 years performed a series of physical tests: a 5-m, 10-m, and 20-m sprint; squat jump (SJ); countermovement jump (CMJ); drop jump (DJ); multi-rebound jumps; maximum voluntary contraction of isometric grip strength; and plantar flexor of the dominant and nondominant side. Speed (r = 0.69, 0.63, and 0.74 for 5-, 10-, and 20-m sprints, respectively), vertical power abilities (r = −0.71, −0.80 and −0.66 for SJ, CMJ, and DJ, respectively), and maximal strength in the dominant side (r = −0.67 and −0.73 for handgrip and plantar flexor, respectively) were significantly correlated with tennis performance. However, strength in the nondominant side (r = −0.29 and −0.42 for handgrip and plantar flexor) and leg stiffness (r = −0.15) were not correlated with the performance ranking of the players. It seems that physical attributes have a strong influence on tennis performance in this age group and that an important asymmetry is already observed. By monitoring regularly such physical abilities during puberty, the conditioning coach can modify a program to compensate for the imbalances. This would in turn minimize the risks of injuries during this critical period.
1ASPETAR, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Research and Education Center, Doha, Qatar; and 2ISSUL, Institute of Sport Science of the University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Address correspondence to Dr. Olivier Girard, email@example.com.