Factors that enable breakthroughs in tennis: A case study of elite college tennis players in Japan


  • Kazuki Hioki Keio University
  • Shion Hotta The University of Tokyo
  • Takashi Iba




breakthrough, expertise, tennis, qualitative research


In the world of sports, the phenomenon of a dramatic improvement in competition results at some point is called a “breakthrough.” In this study, “breakthrough” is defined as “a dramatic improvement in competition results at some point,” and the purpose of this study is to reveal hypothetical findings on the factors that enable “breakthroughs” in tennis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight Japanese college tennis players who had experienced a “breakthrough” in the past, and who had records of being in the top 8 or above in national championships. The interview content was transcribed and used to conduct a qualitative analysis. As a result, the following three hypothetical findings were revealed: “maintaining high motivation,” “continuous growth,” and “high performance during games” are important for enabling “breakthroughs” in tennis. Those hypothetical findings will be useful information for athletes who are aiming for “breakthroughs” and for coaches who support them.


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Author Biography

Shion Hotta, The University of Tokyo

Shion Hotta is a Collaborative Researcher, Center for Advanced School Education and Evidence-Based Research, The University of Tokyo. He is also researcher at the Office of Research Development and Sponsored Projects, Keio University.

Hotta is the recipient of the Koizumi Sports Encouragement Award in 2022, and of the Keio University President's Award in 2023. He serves as member of the Diversity & Inclusion Research Expert Committee of the Japan Sports Law Association.


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How to Cite

Hioki, K., Hotta, S., & Iba, T. (2024). Factors that enable breakthroughs in tennis: A case study of elite college tennis players in Japan. ITF Coaching & Sport Science Review, 32(92), 30–37. https://doi.org/10.52383/itfcoaching.v33i92.512