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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology


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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 Oct 28

language: English

The role of lower limbs during tennis serve

Filippo DOSSENA 1, Carlo ROSSI 2, 3, Antonio La TORRE 2, Matteo BONATO 2

1 School of Sport Science, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan Italy; 2 Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy; 3 R.I.T.A, Italian Tennis Research Association, Milan, Italy


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BACKGROUND: Tennis serve is the most important shot in tennis. Lower limbs generate about 50% of the total force developed during the serve, but limited information are available about their role. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the role of lower limbs during first and second serve and its relationship between jump height and ball speed during tennis serve.
METHODS: Eight professional tennis players (age: 20±3 years; height 181±3 cm; height with racket: 283±5 cm; playing experience 13±3 years) were tested with counter movement jump (CMJ) and CMJ with free arm swing (CMJF). Moreover, jump height and serve speed during first and second serve were measured.
RESULTS: No significant differences between the first and the second serve jump height were observed. Significant difference between the best CMJ and jump height during the first (37.29±4.94 vs 12.42±3.28, P=0.0006; ES: >2.0) and the second (37.29±4.94 vs 13.04±2.46, P=0.0002; ES: >2.0) serve was noted. Significant difference between the best CMJF performance and the best jump height during the first (44.46±6.22 vs 12.42±3.28, P=0.0006; ES: >2.0) and the second (44.46±5.82 vs 13.04±2.46, P=0.0002; ES: >2.0) serves were detected. Slightly significant Spearman positive correlations between jump height and first (P = 0.049; r = 0.71) and second (P = 0.047; r = 0.71) serve speed was computed.
CONCLUSIONS: Reaching higher impact point during tennis serve could allow to serve faster. On the other hand, because tennis serve is a complex coordinative movement of the entire kinetic chain, coaches should focus more coordinative skills of their athletes.

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