Objective Biomechanical Determination of Tennis Racket Properties

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics

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Herbert Hatze
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Several biodynamical properties of tennis rackets such as vibrational characteristics, direction control, and the coefficient of restitution depend critically on the constraining mode of the handle. The racket response to ball impact differs fundamentally for rigid mechanical clamping of the handle and for hand-held gripping. In order to test objectively the biodynamical characteristics of tennis rackets under standardized but biomechanically realistic conditions, the use of a mechano-electronic replica of the human hand/arm system, termed manusimulator, is suggested. Sample test results of the vibrational characteristics of a specific tennis racket and of the coefficients of restitution of several rackets provide proof of the reproducibility and reliability of the test results so obtained. The results were compared with those obtained using human test players. The latter subjective method yielded data with excessively large coefficients of variation around 84% and was found to be unsuitable for determining tennis racket properties objectively. It is concluded that the standardizable manusimulator testing procedure offers a valuable alternative to subjective testing methods for determining tennis racket parameters.

Herbert Hatze heads the Department of Biomechanics, IfS, University of Vienna, Auf der Schmelz 6, A-l 150 Wien, Austria.

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