Tennis is a sport characterized by a discontinuous series of intense, brief efforts with explosive phases alternating with periods of recovery.1 Anaerobic evaluation is performed only in tennis players on the field, because laboratory assessments are not specific for this sport and only measure one component of the anaerobic capacity.2
In Mexico, a system for measuring neuromuscular qualities (MICHECEVI) has been developed base on shortening-stretching cycle method. MICHECEVI evaluates different components of the anaerobic capacity (speed, strength and power) and reaction times. Therefore our hypothesis was that the use of strength platform based on the MICHECEVI method is useful for discerning the differences in anaerobic capacity among professional tennis players and controls.
A sample of 20 high-performance tennis players of different categories (infantile, cadet, sub 20 and Davis Cup) and a sample of 20 young sedentary healthy controls in the same age that elite athletes were used. The evaluation was carried out on the strength platform with visual and auditory interface controlled by specific software. The evaluations of short reaction times were determined by the smaller displacement on the platform after a visual or auditory stimulus. In case of long reaction times, the largest vertical displacement was evaluated after a stimulus. Finally absolute and relative anaerobic power was evaluated through a series of 20 continuous vertical jumps.
The tennis players had lower short reaction times, being the only statistically significant auditory (174.15 vs. 232.3 milliseconds, p & ge;0.05). The short visual reaction time was lower but not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Both visual (504.1 14 vs. 441 15 milliseconds, p & ge;0.05) and auditory long reaction times (395.7 20.6 vs. 474.5 13 milliseconds, p & ge;0.05) were longer in tennis players than in sedentary controls. Jump height was statistically higher in tennis players (31.75 1.6 cm) than in controls (25.99 1.17 cm). Anaerobic absolute power was greatest in tennis players reaching 833.6 57 Watts, the control group only development 644.9 57 Watts (p & ge;0.05). Anaerobic relative power generated by the tennis players was higher (13.86 0.6 W/kg) than controls (11.2 0.7 W/kg), (p & ge;0.05).
MICHECEVI is a quantitative and objective method that identifies the anaerobic capacity in tennis players. It is an excellent tool for training medical control. Due to its technical-methodological characteristics it can be applied to a large number and subjects with immediate results in several anaerobic sports.
Kovacs MS. Tennis physiology: Training the competitive athlete. Sports Med. 2007;37:189–198.
Fernandez-Fernandez J, Ulbricht A, Ferrauti A. Fitness testing of tennis players: How valuable is it? Br J Sports Med. 2014;48(Suppl 1):i22–31.
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