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Sports Biomech. 2010 Nov;9(4):280-95. doi: 10.1080/14763141.2010.535841.

Kinematic differences of elite and high-performance tennis players in the cross court and down the line forehand.

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Department of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.


This study identified and compared the full body kinematics of different skill levels in the forehand groundstroke when balls were hit cross court and down the line. Forty-three three-dimensional retroreflective marker trajectories of six elite and seven high-performance players were recorded using an eight-camera 400 Hz, Vicon motion analysis system. The six highest horizontal velocity forehands with reliable kinematics of all participants were analysed for each specific situation (a total of 156 analysed shots). Significant differences (p < 0.01) and large effect sizes were observed between elite and high-performance players in linear velocity of the shoulder (2.0 vs. 1.2 m/s), angular velocity of the pelvis (295 vs. 168 degrees/s), and angular velocity of the upper trunk (453 vs. 292 degrees/s) at impact. The elite group showed a tendency towards higher racquet velocities at impact (p < 0.05). No significant differences were found in angular displacement of the racquet, hip alignment, or shoulder alignment at the completion of the backswing; nor did angular displacement vary significantly at impact. Irrespective of the group, different shoulder, hip, and racquet angles were found at impact, depending on the situation. The results should assist coaches when striving to improve their players' forehand.

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