Age, Gender, and Flexibility Differences in Tennis Serving among Experienced Older Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study examined tennis serving in older adult tennis players. Twenty-two older adults, divided into younger and older halves, were videotaped serving five “first” serves. Dominant shoulder flexibility also was measured. From the videotape, servers were classified into developmental levels and their resultant ball impact velocity was calculated. An Age × Gender (2 × 2) mixed model MANOVA yielded no significant differences between the age groups or between men and women in flexibility, ball impact velocity, or movement pattern. A few combinations of the developmental levels of elbow and forearm/racket action were used by the majority of servers. Regular practice might consolidate older adults in these attractor movement patterns, making them more resilient to change than with less practiced skills. These results suggest practice in older adulthood favorably affects performance by resulting in consistency of movement pattern and maintenance of movement pattern, flexibility, and ball impact speed.

Kathleen M. Haywood is with the Department of Physical Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121-4499. Kathleen Williams is with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412.

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