Despite these differences, skilled players can create similar levels of racket speed at impact in 1- and 2-handed backhands (19). In general, there are 2 styles of coordination in 2-handed backhands. One essentially involves straight arms and 4 major kinetic chain elements (hips, trunk, shoulder, and wrist), while the other adds rotations at the forearm (7,19). Whatever the technique adopted, the strength and conditioning professional should work with the tennis coach to customize training programs for the specific techniques used by players.
Examples are described for forehands (right-handed players), but they should also be performed on the opposing side to mimic movements required for backhand strokes.
MEDICINE BALL DEEP GROUNDSTROKE
The purpose was to train the athlete to move efficiently to deep balls behind the baseline and to be able to produce greater energy transfer from open stance position that will translate into greater weight transfer, trunk rotation, and more effective stroke production from deep in the court (Figure 4).
The athlete starts on the center service mark and the coach/trainer throws the MB about 3 to 5 feet behind and to the right. The athlete will need to move back and across quickly to catch the MB (loading phase) and then while maintaining dynamic balance produce a forceful hip turn and throw that will mimic the muscle contractions and movements required for a deep defensive forehand stroke (for a right-hander).
MEDICINE BALL SHORT GROUNDSTROKE
The purpose was to train the athlete to move forward and in a balanced fashion transfer energy from the lower extremities (open or square stance) to weight transfer and hip/trunk rotation for more effective stroke production (Figure 5). In Figure 5, the athlete is demonstrating a closed stance catching position. This movement can also be performed using an open stance catching position.
The athlete starts on the center service line and the coach/trainer throws the MB about 3 to 5 feet in front and to the athlete's right. The athlete will need to move forward and across quickly to catch the MB (loading phase) and then while maintaining dynamic balance produce a forceful hip and trunk rotation to throw the MB. This will mimic the movement and muscles used during a short attacking forehand.
MEDICINE BALL WIDE
The purpose was to train the athlete to move sideways and to be able to produce greater energy transfer from an open stance position (Figure 6). This position will produce greater weight transfer, trunk rotation, and more effective stroke production on wide balls.
The athlete starts on the center service line and the coach/trainer throws the MB about 5 feet to the right of the athlete. The athlete will need to move laterally (utilizing either the shuffle or the crossover step) to catch the MB (loading phase) and then while maintaining dynamic balance produce a forceful hip and trunk rotation to throw the MB. This movement sequence will mimic the movement and muscles used in a wide forehand.
MEDICINE BALL WALL OPEN STANCE
The purpose was to develop rotational hip and core strength in movement patterns and planes that are most used during tennis strokes (Figure 7).
The athlete starts about 5 to 8 feet from a solid wall and loads the hips and core while also putting the oblique muscles on stretch. From this loading position (Figure 7 demonstrates an open stance loading position), the athlete forcefully rotates the hip and upper body to release the MB as hard as possible against the wall.
CABLE ROTATION IN THE TRANSVERSE PLANE
The purpose was to develop rotational core strength in the transverse plane (Figure 8).
The athlete grasps the handle of a cable pulley machine at the height of the waist. The athlete takes 3 to 5 steps from the machine to increase the tension and lowers the body into a quarter squat position. From this position, the athlete slowly rotates through the transverse plane as far as the athlete's flexibility allows. This movement is then repeated on the way back to the starting position focused on developing deceleration ability in this same plane of motion.
The purpose was to increase grip strength and endurance via forearm flexion and extension (Figure 9).
The athlete grasps the wrist roller device with both hands at shoulder height. The athlete flexes and extends the wrist to lower the weight. Once the weight is lowered as far as possible, the athlete then flexes and extends the wrist to lift the weight back up to the starting position.
WEIGHTED FOREARM PRONATION AND SUPINATION
The purpose was to develop forearm strength and endurance in pronation and supination (Figure 10).
The athlete places their forearm on a table or bench while grasping a head heavy instrument (a weighted bar and hammer are both good options). Figure 10a demonstrates a forearm pronation movement, and Figure 10b demonstrates a forearm supination movement. Both these movements are used during tennis groundstrokes.
SUMMARY AND APPLICATIONS FOR COACHES
The purpose of this article was to help coaches recognize the unique aspects of tennis groundstrokes, with specific implication for how they can train their athletes. Again, the 2-fold approach of this article was to help practitioners realize the types of training that will (a) improve performance by creating more force within muscle groups, improve coordination between various body parts involved in each stroke, and develop overall power in the athlete's stroke production and (b) develop strength in the various body parts and across joints that would protect the athlete from injury.
Practical exercises have been offered that will emulate the stroke coordination to improve the efficiency of stroke production as well as exercises that will improve the athlete's ability to decelerate specific body parts to assist in recovery after the execution of the specific stroke. The exercises denoted in this article are designed to help the coach with on-court and off-court training so that various training sites can be utilized for effectiveness in training. For example, MB drills are offered to help the athlete, not only move and get in position properly but also to execute the form of the stroke in the proper pattern. Coordination of body weight transfer is discussed as well.
Finally, there is a demonstration of how the legs, hips, and torso should move in synchrony as well as instruction on how to develop coordination so the athlete can utilize the kinetic chain more effectively. It is anticipated that coaches will be able to provide a safer yet more productive and effective strength training regimen for their athletes.
1. Ariel GB and Braden V. Biomechanical analysis of ballistic vs. tracking movements in tennis skills. In: Proceedings of a National Symposium on the Racquet Sports
. Groppel J, ed. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, 1979. pp. 105-124.
2. Akutagawa S and Kojima T. Trunk rotation torques through the hip joints during the one-and two-handed backhand tennis strokes. J Sport Sci
23: 781-793, 2005.
3. Bahamonde R and Knudson D. Kinetics of the upper extremity in the open and square stance tennis forehand. J Sci Med Sport
6: 88-101, 2003.
4. Elliott B, Takahashi K, and Noffal G. The influence of grip position on the upper limb contributions to racket-head speed in the tennis forehand. J Appl Biomech
13: 182-196, 1997.
5. Elliott B. Biomechanics of tennis. In: Tennis
. Renstrom AFH, ed. Osney Mead, Oxford: Blackwell Science, 2002. pp. 1-28.
6. Elliott B. Biomechanics and tennis. Br J Sports Med
40: 392-396, 2006.
7. Groppel J. High Tech Tennis
(2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1992, 107.
8. Iino Y and Kojima T. Torque acting on the pelvis about its superior-inferior axis through the hip joints during a tennis forehand stroke. J Hum Mov Stud
40: 269-290, 2001.
9. Iino Y and Kojima T. Role of knee flexion and extension for rotating the trunk in a tennis forehand stroke. J Hum Mov Stud
45: 133-152, 2003.
10. Kawasaki S, Imai S, Inaoka H, Masuda T, Ishida A, Okawa A, and Shinomiya K. The lower lumbar spine moment and the axial rotation motion of a body during one-handed and double-handed backhand stroke in tennis. Int J Sports Med
26: 617-621, 2005.
11. Kibler WB. Kinetic chain contributions to elbow function and dysfunction in sports. Clin Sports Med
23: 545-552, 2004.
12. Kovacs MS, Roetert EP, and Ellenbecker TS. Efficient deceleration: The forgotten factor in tennis-specific training
. J Strength Cond Res
30: 58-69, 2008.
13. Knudson D. Hand forces and impact effectiveness in the tennis forehand. J Hum Mov Stud
17: 1-7, 1989.
14. Knudson D. Forces on the hand in the one-handed backhand. Int J Sports Biomech
7: 282-292, 1991.
15. Knudson D. Biomechanical Principles of Tennis Technique
. Vista, CA: Racquet Tech Publishing, 2006. pp. 10.
16. Knudson D and Bahamonde R. Trunk and racket kinematics at impact in the open and square stance tennis forehand. Biol Sport
16: 3-10, 1999.
17. Knudson D and Blackwell J. Upper extremity angular kinematics of the one-handed backhand drive in tennis players with and without tennis elbow. Int J Sports Med
18: 79-81, 1997.
18. Knudson D and Elliott BC. Biomechanics of tennis strokes. In: Biomedical Engineering Principles in Sports
. Hung GK and Pallis JM, eds. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2004. pp. 153-181.
19. Reid M and Elliott B. The one- and two-handed backhand in tennis. Sport Biomech
1: 47-68, 2002.
20. Roetert EP and Reid M. Linear and angular momentum. United States Tennis Association: High Performance Coaching Newsletter
. 9(3): 5-8, 2008.
21. Schönborn R. Advanced Techniques for Competitive Tennis
. Achen, Germany: Meyer and Meyer, 1999. pp. 26.
22. Takahashi K, Elliott B, and Noffal G. The role of upper limb segment rotations in the development of spin in the tennis forehand. J Sci Med Sport
28: 106-113, 1996.
Keywords:© 2009 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association
kinetic chain;; tennis-specific training; technique analysis