Journal of sports sciences | 6 Aug 2014
K Kachel, T Buszard and M Reid
Abstract The purpose of this article was to examine the effect of equipment scaling, through the modification of tennis ball compression, on elite junior tennis players (aged 10 years) within a match-play context. The two types of ball compressions that were compared were the standard compression (the normal ball) and 75% compression (termed the modified ball). Ten boys and 10 girls participated in the study. Participants were stratified into pairs based on their Australian Age Ranking and gender. Each pair played two two-set matches: one match with standard compression balls and one match with modified balls. The characteristics of each match were analysed and compared. The results showed that the use of the modified ball increased rally speed, allowed players to strike the ball at a lower (more comfortable) height on their groundstrokes and increased the number of balls played at the net. Ball compression had no effect on the relative number of winners, forehands, backhands, first serves in and double faults. The results are discussed in relation to skill acquisition for skilled junior tennis players.
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