THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEG STRENGTH, POWER AND TENNIS SERVE PERFORMANCE
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between leg strength, power and tennis serve performance. Five tennis players were assessed across three assessments: an isometric mid-thigh pull (isoMTP), a tennis serve performance (TSP) test on a force plate and a medicine ball throw test. Correlations between force plate data in the tennis serve performance and isometric mid-thigh pull, peak vertical force and service speed in the TSP, and medicine ball throw performance and service speed were made. The results showed that the best and mean FzMax scores in the isoMTP and TSP tests had a strong correlation (r = 0.732 to 0.790), though this relationship was not significant. Negative correlations were shown between the best and mean time to FzMax in the isoMTP and TSP test (r = -0.802 to -0.996) with the mean TSP FzMax correlating significantly with best and mean isoMTP time to FzMax (p < 0.05). Peak rate of force development in the TSP and isoMTP correlated negatively (r = -0.320 to -0.475), as well as TSP FzMax and TSP best and means (r = -0.412 to -0.499). The isoMTP and TSP FzMax correlation results suggest that improvements in isometric strength of the leg muscles may lead to dynamic strength improvements in the leg muscles, and may therefore increase tennis serve speed. The negative correlations acknowledged in the results may imply a difference in force contribution from segments within the kinetic chain between tennis serve technique used.
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