DOES BALANCE TRAINING HAVE AN EFFECT ON AGILITY IN TENNIS?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Context: Balance and agility are important fitness components in tennis, but there is little research into whether balance training can improve agility. Investigating whether balance training can help to improve agility could help to reduce injury rates, as agility is one of the inherent demands of tennis that causes micro-trauma injuries. Objective: To determine any performance enhancement in agility after participation in a six week balance training programme in university male tennis players. Setting: All pre and post testing took place in Cardiff Metropolitan Tennis Centre and balance sessions took place in the National Indoor Athletic centre (NIAC) at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Participants: 16 male Cardiff Metropolitan tennis players aged 18-25 were assigned to an experimental (n = 8) or control (n = 8) group. Players were excluded if they had sustained a lower limb injury in the preceding 12 months. Intervention: The experimental group took part in a six week training programme that included various balance exercises and progressions. Baseline Measure: Data was collected using the agility t-test before and after the six week intervention period for both experimental and control groups. Results: The current study found no significant improvements in agility performance within the experimental group from pre to post tests when compared to the control group (P > 0.05). However there was a trend towards improvements in agility after the six weeks of balance training, in both groups, but a larger improvement in the experimental group. Conclusion: This study suggests that balance programmes may be an effective means of improving agility, which in turn may be helpful in preventing injuries. More research is needed in this area to confirm these findings.
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