A test battery to assess on court displacements of youth tennis players
Keywords:change of direction, laterality, symmetry
This paper propose five tennis-specific tests performed on hardcourt to analyze coordination of lower limbs and laterality. Times to complete one 20 meters linear sprint and four 4 x 5 meters shuttle sprints (180° change of direction) in: a) open stance, b) neutral stance, c) forehand and d) backhand, were recorded in 342 youth tennis players aged 11-16 yrs. Differences between times in the 20 meters and 4 x 5 meters sprints in open stance greater than 3.13 and 2.91 seconds denote inadequate on-court displacement capacity of females and males respectively. The difference between open and neutral shuttle sprints assess the on-court coordination capacities of lower limbs with expected optimal result below 0.43 and 0.39 seconds for females and males respectively. The difference between forehand and backhand shuttle sprints should tend towards zero seconds in symmetric players indicating the capacity to move in the court with the same acceleration/deceleration capabilities regardless laterality. These tests can be proposed at any age as they give an idea of the coordination capacities of lower limbs and laterality related to specific tennis movements. The earlier age assessment may serve to address any coordination/laterality deficits sooner versus later.
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