Acute Sleep Restriction Affects Sport-Specific But Not Athletic Performance in Junior Tennis Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: Little is known about the effect of sleep restriction (SR) on different domains of athletes’ physical performance. Therefore, the aim of this randomized, counterbalanced, and crossover study was to evaluate the effect of acute SR on sport-specific technical and athletic performance in male junior tennis players. Methods: Tennis players (N = 12; age 15.4 ± 2.6 y) were randomly allocated to either a sleep-restriction condition (SR, n = 6), where they experienced acute sleep restriction the night before the test session (≤5 h of sleep), or to a control condition (CON, n = 6), where they followed their habitual sleep–wake routines. Testing procedures included 20 left and right serves, 15 forehand and backhand crosscourt shots, and a repeated-sprint-ability test (RSA). The accuracy of serves and shots was considered for further analysis. One week later, players of SR joined CON, and players of CON experienced SR, and all test procedures were repeated. Results: Significant decrease in the accuracy of right (−17.5%, P = .010, effect size [ES] = 1.0, moderate) and left serve (−14.1%, P = .014, ES = 1.2, large), crosscourt backhand (−23.9%, P = .003, ES ≥ 2.0, very large), and forehand shot (−15.6%, P = .014, ES = 1.1, moderate) were observed in SR compared to CON, while RSA was similar in both conditions. Conclusion: Coaches and athletes at the team and individual level should be aware that 1 night of SR affects sport-specific but not athletic performance in tennis players.

Vitale, Bonato, La Torre, and Banfi are with the IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milano, Italy. Petrucci, Zucca, and La Torre are with the Dept of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy. Banfi is also with the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milano, Italy.

Vitale (jacopo.vitale@grupposandonato.it) is corresponding author.
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