How were the progress and goals of science applied to the sporting world, especially in tennis? How science has improved performances and health in tennis, making it one of the most avant-garde discipline of the entire sports movement? A question which the British Journal of Sports Medicine has tried to answer, through the study Evolution and impact of science in tennis: eight advances for performance and health.
The following is an abstract: "Tennis players have become superstars, their names being mentioned alongside those of popular musicians and actors. Behind the glamour, however, a lot of hard work is going into improving the quality of the game.
The high level of tennis did not happen overnight. Sporting excellence is supported by scientific research in all aspects of the sport. What are the major scientific advances of the past 10 years and what is their impact on the game of tennis? Player analysis technology.
Specialised equipment (‘smart’ devices) are now available that have the ability to measure the way the player performs or interacts with his equipment. Electronic line-calling. A particularly noticeable scientific recent advance has been the introduction of an electronic line-calling system in tennis (Hawk-Eye).
Biomechanics and video analysis. Biomechanics has helped tennis coaches to understand the mechanical characteristics of the tennis stroke and to unlock the complex mechanisms by which players develop power and control.
While most of the early research involved the tennis serve, recently groundstrokes have been analysed. Low compression tennis balls. The introduction of low-compression tennis balls has fundamentally changed the way children and adults learn to play tennis.
These are essentially lightweight balls that are easy to hit. Sport psychology. Major strides have also been made in the field of sport psychology. There is now high awareness of the importance of parents of junior tennis players, and parent education programmes have been developed.
Injury surveillance. General knowledge of tennis injuries has increased over the years, but the reported incidence, severity and nature of injuries show great variation between studies. Nutrition. Recent advances in nutrition have mainly focused on sports with high-energy demands such as cycling and marathon running, but awareness of the benefits of proper nutrition in tennis has increased.
Heat stress. A number of studies have been performed to investigate the thermoregulatory response of tennis players to heat stress.
When to stop play? Although the biological risk is a continuous variable, the reality of sport means that the decision to play or not to play will be dichotomous."
Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine - Evolution and impact of science in tennis: eight advances for performance and health