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J Sports Sci. 2002 Apr;20(4):311-8.

Fatigue decreases skilled tennis performance.

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School of Applied Sciences, South Bank University, London, UK.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of fatigue from maximal tennis hitting on skilled tennis performance. Eighteen senior county tennis players (9 males, 9 females) volunteered to participate in the study. Their mean (+/- s(mean)) age and body mass were as follows: males 20.7 +/- 0.9 years and 60.6 +/- 2.7 kg respectively, females 21.7 +/- 0.6 years and 71.5 +/- 1.8 kg respectively. The players undertook two performance tests, both against a tennis ball serving machine, on an indoor tennis surface: (1) a pre- and post-skill test of groundstrokes and service; (2) the Loughborough Intermittent Tennis Test (4 min work plus 40 s recovery) to volitional fatigue. Body mass decreased by 1.5% (P < 0.0001). Mean heart rates differed between rest, post-warm-up and all intermittent test values (P < 0.01), between the pre- and post-skill tests (P < 0.0001) and between bouts and recoveries (P < 0.01). Peak blood glucose and lactate concentrations were 5.9 mmol l(-1) (50% into the intermittent tennis test) and 9.6 +/- 0.9 mmol x l(-1) (25% into the test) respectively. Mean time to volitional fatigue was 35.4 +/- 4.6 min. Groundstroke hitting accuracy decreased by 69% from start to volitional fatigue in the intermittent test (P < 0.01). Service accuracy to the right court declined by 30% after the intermittent tennis test. The results of this study suggest that fatigue was accompanied by a decline in some but not all tennis skills.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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