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Matthias W. Hoppe, Christian Baumgart and Jürgen Freiwald

Purpose:

To investigate differences in running activities between adolescent and adult tennis players during match play. Differences between winning and losing players within each age group were also examined.

Methods:

Forty well-trained male players (20 adolescents, 13 ± 1 y; 20 adults, 25 ± 4 y) played a simulated singles match against an opponent of similar age and ability. Running activities were assessed using portable devices that sampled global positioning system (10 Hz) and inertial-sensor (accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer; 100 Hz) data. Recorded data were examined in terms of velocity, acceleration, deceleration, metabolic power, PlayerLoad, and number of accelerations toward the net and the forehand and backhand corners.

Results:

Adult players spent more time at high velocity (≥4 m/s2), acceleration (≥4 m/s2), deceleration (≤–4 m/s2), and metabolic power (≥20 W/kg) (P ≤ .009, ES = 0.9–1.5) and performed more accelerations (≥2 m/s2) toward the backhand corner (P < .001, ES = 2.6–2.7). No differences between adolescent winning and losing players were evident overall (P ≥ .198, ES = 0.0–0.6). Adult winning players performed more accelerations (2 to <4 m/s2) toward the forehand corner (P = .026, ES = 1.2), whereas adult losing players completed more accelerations (≥2 m/s2) toward the backhand corner (P ≤ .042, ES = 0.9).

Conclusions:

This study shows that differences in running activities between adolescent and adult tennis players exist in high-intensity measures during simulated match play. Furthermore, differences between adolescent and adult players, and also between adult winning and losing players, are present in terms of movement directions. Our findings may be helpful for coaches to design different training drills for both age groups of players.

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Matthias W. Hoppe, Christian Baumgart, Jutta Bornefeld, Billy Sperlich, Jürgen Freiwald and Hans-Christer Holmberg

The aims of this study were (1) to assess the running activities of adolescent tennis players during match play with respect to velocity, acceleration, and deceleration; (2) to characterize changes in these activities during the course of a match; and (3) to identify potential differences between winners and losers. Twenty well-trained adolescent male athletes (13 ± 1 y) played one simulated match each (giving a total of 10 matches), during which distances covered at different velocity categories (0 to < 1, 1 to < 2, 2 to < 3, 3 to < 4, and ≥ 4 m·s−1) and number of running activities involving high velocity (≥ 3 m·s−1), acceleration (≥ 2 m·s−2), and deceleration (≤ −2 m·s−2) were monitored using a global positioning system (10 Hz). Heart rate was also assessed. The total match time, total distance covered, peak velocity, and mean heart rate were 81.2 ± 14.6 min, 3362 ± 869 m, 4.4 ± 0.8 ms−1, and 159 ± 12 beats min−1, respectively. Running activities involving high acceleration (0.6 ± 0.2 n·min−1) or deceleration (0.6 ± 0.2 n·min−1) were three times as frequent as those involving high velocity (0.2 ± 0.1 n·min−1). No change in the pattern of running activities (P ≥ .13, d ≤ 0.39) and no differences between winners and losers (P ≥ .22, d ≤ 0.53) were evident during match play. We conclude that training of well-trained adolescent male tennis players need not focus on further development of their running abilities, since this physical component of multifactorial tennis performance does not change during the course of a match and does not differ between the winners and losers.

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Isabel Mayer, Matthias W. Hoppe, Jürgen Freiwald, Rafael Heiss, Martin Engelhardt, Casper Grim, Christoph Lutter, Moritz Huettel, Raimund Forst and Thilo Hotfiel

Context: Foam rolling (FR) has been developed into a popular intervention and has been established in various sports disciplines. However, its effects on target tissue, including changes in stiffness properties, are still poorly understood. Objective: To investigate muscle-specific and connective tissue-specific responses after FR in recreational athletes with different FR experience. Design: Case series. Setting: Laboratory environment. Participants: The study was conducted with 40 participants, consisting of 20 experienced (EA) and 20 nonexperienced athletes (NEA). Intervention: The FR intervention included 5 trials per 45 seconds of FR of the lateral thigh in the sagittal plane with 20 seconds of rest between each trial. Main Outcome Measures: Acoustic radiation force impulse elastosonography values, represented as shear wave velocity, were obtained under resting conditions (t0) and several times after FR exercise (0 min [t1], 30 min [t2], 6 h [t3], and 24 h [t4]). Data were assessed in superficial and deep muscle (vastus lateralis muscle; vastus intermedius muscle) and in connective tissue (iliotibial band). Results: In EA, tissue stiffness of the iliotibial band revealed a significant decrease of 13.2% at t1 (P ≤ .01) and 12.1% at t3 (P = .02). In NEA, a 6.2% increase of stiffness was found at t1, which was not significantly different to baseline (P = .16). For both groups, no significant iliotibial band stiffness changes were found at further time points. Also, regarding muscle stiffness, no significant changes were detected at any time for EA and NEA (P > .05). Conclusions: This study demonstrates a significant short-term decrease of connective tissue stiffness in EA, which may have an impact on the biomechanical output of the connective tissue. Thus, FR effects on tissue stiffness depend on the athletes’ experience in FR, and existing studies have to be interpreted cautiously in the context of the enrolled participants.