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Quantification of the physiological and performance characteristics of on-court tennis drills
  1. Machar Reid (mmreid{at}
  1. University of Western Australia, Australia
    1. Rob Duffield
    1. Charles Sturt University, Australia
      1. Brian Dawson
      1. University of Western Australia, Australia
        1. John Baker
        1. Australian Institute of Sport, Australia
          1. Miguel Crespo
          1. International Tennis Federation, United Kingdom


            Objective: To determine the physiological responses and stroke characteristics of common, on-court tennis training drills.

            Methods: Six high performance players performed 1 x 6 repetitions of four common on-court training drills on two separate occasions; once with 30s work:30s rest, and once with 60s work:30s rest. Heart rate (HR), blood lactate [La-], distance covered by the player (GPS) and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) were measured prior to the start of each drill and after the first and last repetition. Measures of shot count and accuracy and post-impact ball velocity per drill were also recorded.

            Results: Significant differences were observed between drills in measures of [La-] and RPE both during ([La-]: 2.1 – 4.4 mmol.L-1;RPE: 2.6 – 5.1) and after ([La-]: 4.4 – 10.6 mmol.L-1; RPE: 4.3 – 7.6) drills, yet individual HR responses (160 – 182bpm) were similar. Increased work times (60s v 30s) also produced consistently elevated [La-] and RPE responses, yet players’ average movement velocities as well as forehand ball speed and accuracy remained consistent. Significant decreases in forehand ball speed and accuracy were observed during more intensive training drills, while significantly lower mean movement velocities underpinned performance of less intensive drills.

            Conclusions: The four drills produced physiological responses that reflect previously reported normal or maximal matchplay demands. These results point to the adaptations possible with the adjustment of training drill type and load specific to matchplay demands or training phase.

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