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Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b3df89
Original Research

Physical Determinants of Tennis Performance in Competitive Teenage Players

Girard, Olivier1; Millet, Gregoire P2

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Abstract

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.

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association

 

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