The intra subject variability of the angular kinematics of the wrist and elbow joints in the tennis forehand drive were studied. Two varsity tennis players were filmed as they performed flat forehand drives. The DLT method of 3-D reconstruction was used to measure the angular motion of the upper extremity for eight strokes to assess the intra subject variability of selected kinematic variables. Curves were synchronized to impact and averaged. Wrist and elbow angular position data were quite consistent, with curve coefficients of variation (CV) less than 5.9%. The consistent angular positions during the forward stroke did not result from highly consistent patterns of angular velocities or accelerations. For both the wrist and elbow joints, intra subject variability increased for the angular velocity (CV = 90.6%) and angular acceleration (CV = 129.5%) curves. Biomechanical studies comparing derivatives or kinetic variables across subjects may have to be interpreted with reference to intra subject variability.
Duane V. Knudson is with the Department of HPER, Baylor University BU Box 7313, Waco, TX 76798-7313.