Srihirun, K., Boonrod, W., Mickleborough, T. D. & Suksom, D. (2014). On-court vs. off-court interval-training on fatigue and skilled tennis performance in tennis players. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(5), Supplement abstract number 933.

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This study investigated the effect of on-court versus off-court interval training on fatigue and skilled tennis performance in male tennis players (N = 20). Ss were randomly assigned to two groups: i) an on-court interval-training group (N = 10), and ii) an off-court interval-training (N = 10) group. The on-court group (tennis-skill specific interval training in the field) was subjected to four sets of six repetitions of 10 seconds of high-intensity exercise (using forehand and backhand strokes whilst moving as fast as possible and hitting the ball with maximal effort and maintaining stroke accuracy), alternating with 10 seconds of active recovery (footwork). The off-court group (running interval training on a treadmill) was subjected to four sets of six repetitions of 10-second high-intensity exercise performed by running at 90-100 % of peak treadmill speed, alternating with 10 seconds of running at 30-40% of peak treadmill speed. Both groups trained for three days per week for eight weeks. Pre- and post-training measures were VO2max, vertical jump height, blood lactate concentration, and a skill tennis-performance test. The Lougborough Intermittent Tennis Test on-court assessment was used to determine fatigue.

After eight weeks of training, both groups had significantly increased VO2max and skill tennis performance. Vertical jump height and mean time to fatigue were significantly increased only in the on-court interval training group.

Implication. Both on-and off-court interval-training were effective in improving some factors associated with aerobic capacity and skill tennis performance in tennis players. However, muscle power and tolerance to fatigue of tennis players improved only in a group that experienced on-court interval-training. This study produced mixed results. Some outcomes supported the specificity of training principle (in this case the specificity of the sport environment) while other outcomes were improved in specific and non-specific sport-environment training situations.

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