Making an early start to stardom
Getting the best out of young tennis stars at a pivotal point in their early careers is the focus of a new study at The University of Notre Dame Australia.
In collaboration with Tennis West, PhD candidate and tennis coach Mitch Turner is examining what physical and mental factors have the greatest influence on junior tennis players’ performance.
“Although it’s a sport that is very big around the world there’s limited research into it compared to some of the world’s field based sports,” said Mitch, who also lectures at Notre Dame’s School of Health Sciences.
“At the moment, player performance is judged on tournament results and rankings but this study will highlight specific areas that with training will take them to the next level.
Beginning in February next year, the research will involve testing 60 junior players at the State Tennis Centre in Burswood over two testing periods, one of four weeks and another of 13 weeks.
Each player will undergo a range of tests on their physical abilities - focussing on strength, power and agility, and cognitive abilities - testing their decision making, reaction time and anticipation.
The study will focus on tennis players aged from 14-18.
“In this period most are getting accepted into academies or are looking to travel with tournaments, so it’s the age range where they really need to be performing,” he said.
“If they peak too late or perform too late they can miss out on a lot of opportunities.”
Results from the study may also be used to improve performance in similar sports such as badminton and squash or even other court-based sports like netball.