Tennis stroke mechanics have attracted considerable biomechanical analysis, yet current filtering practice may lead to erroneous reporting of data near the impact of racket and ball. This research had three aims: (1) to identify the best method of estimating the displacement and velocity of the racket at impact during the tennis serve, (2) to demonstrate the effect of different methods on upper limb kinematics and kinetics and (3) to report the effect of increased noise on the most appropriate treatment method. The tennis serves of one tennis player, fit with upper limb and racket retro-reflective markers, were captured with a Vicon motion analysis system recording at 500 Hz. The raw racket tip marker displacement and velocity were used as criterion data to compare three different endpoint treatments and two different filters. The 2nd-order polynomial proved to be the least erroneous extrapolation technique and the quintic spline filter was the most appropriate filter. The previously performed “smoothing through impact” method, using a quintic spline filter, underestimated the racket velocity (9.1%) at the time of impact. The polynomial extrapolation method remained effective when noise was added to the marker trajectories.
M. M. Reid is with Tennis Australia, and with the School of Sport Science and Exercise Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia. Amity C. Campbell (Corresponding Author) is with the School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, WA, Australia. B. C. Elliott is with the School of Sport Science and Exercise Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia.