Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Short-term effects of light and heavy load interventions on service velocity and precision in elite young tennis players
  1. Alexander Ferrauti1,
  2. Kenneth Bastiaens2
  1. 1
    Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Sports Science, Cologne, Germany
  2. 2
    Brughia Tennis Academy, Belgium
  1. Alexander Ferrauti, Faculty of Sports Science, Ruhr University Bochum, Cologne, Germany; alexander.ferrauti{at}


Objective: This study was conducted to investigate the acute effects of a complex throwing intervention set-up, with light or heavy loads, on the service velocity of elite junior tennis players.

Methods: On 3 separate test days, 13 elite juniors (mean (SD) 12.3 (0.8) years, 149 (9) cm, 37.5 (5.5) kg) performed four sets of six serves with different between-set conditions. In a cross-over design, the players performed respectively 6, 4 and 2 maximum effort throws with a 200 g ball (LI, light intervention), 6, 4 and 2 maximum effort throws with a 600 g ball (HI, heavy intervention) and no throws (NI, no intervention) during the 2 min in between-set period. Participants were instructed to serve, with maximum speed, to a target near the midline of the deuce court service box. A two-factor analysis of variance was used to determine the effects of intervention type and set number on “service velocity”, “service precision” (eg, percentage of serves in) and “service touch” (11 point rating scale).

Results: Mean (SD) service velocity decreased significantly in HI (124.3 (7.8) km/h) as compared to NI (126.6 (9.3) km/h, p<0.05, effect size d = 0.26), yet no such differences were found between LI (125.2 (7.9) km/h) and NI. Service velocity also remained constant between sets (p = 0.406). Service precision and service touch were unaffected by the interventions.

Conclusions: Under the conditions of our study, a heavy throwing intervention during service training has no beneficial effect on service velocity in young elite tennis players (under 14).

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Abbreviations:
    analysis of variance
    Flemish Training Centre
    heavy intervention
    light intervention
    no intervention
    post-activation potentiation

Linked Articles