Objective: To determine the physiological responses and stroke characteristics of common on-court tennis training drills.
Methods: Six high-performance players performed 1×6 repetitions of four common on-court training drills on two separate occasions; once with 30:30 seconds work:rest, and once with 60:30 seconds work:rest. Heart rate (HR), blood lactate [La−], distance covered by the player (GPS) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured before 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; RPE 2.6–5.1) and after ([La−] 4.4–10.6 mmol/l; RPE 4.3–7.6) drills, yet individual HR responses (160–182 beats/minute) were similar. Increased work times (60 v 30 seconds) also produced consistently raised [La−] and RPE responses, yet players’ average movement velocities and forehand ball speed and accuracy remained consistent. Significant decreases in forehand ball speed and accuracy were observed during higher-intensity training drills, whereas 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 adjustment of training drill type and load specific to matchplay demands or training phase.
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