PHYSICAL CAPACITIES OF YOUNG TENNIS PLAYERS
Elliott, B. C., Ackland, T. R., Blanksby, B. A., & Bloomfield, J. (1990). A prospective study of physiological and kinanthropometric indicators of junior tennis performance. The Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22, 87-92.
Young tennis players were measured on several anthropometric and physiological capacity variables over a period of five years. Ss were divided into those who regularly or occasionally made the quarterfinals in tournaments and those who never achieved that level. A matched control group of non-players was also formed. Each group was compared at 11, 13, and 15 years of age.
Body composition differed between all groups for both sexes. The best male players were more linear and carried less fat than the control group, however, these factors did not discriminate between the two tennis groups. The best female players carried less fat than the control group and were less mesomorphic and more ectomorphic than the lesser players.
Strength and flexibility measures did not differentiate the male groups. The best females had a stronger grip strength than the other two groups.
The best males were more agile than the other two groups and were superior to the control group in 40 m sprint and vertical jump.
The best females were superior to controls on all anaerobic measures but were also superior to the lesser performing group on the 40 m sprint and vertical jump.
No significant differences were recorded between the male or female tennis groups on any aerobic capacity or lung function variables. These two groups were only superior to controls on estimated maximum aerobic power score expressed relative to body mass.
Implication. Only a few variables, each particular to gender, discriminated levels of tennis players in this age-group. Other variables and sport science dimensions (e.g., activity and mental skills) would seem to be more fruitful areas on which to concentrate to achieve performance improvements and talent location in young tennis players.
Return to Table of Contents for this issue.