Researchers have investigated the energy expenditure of tennis practice and match play in adults but not youth.
VO2 was recorded for 36 youth, ages 9 to 18, during 10-minute bouts of tennis practice and match play. A GLM was used to compare VO2 between practice and match play and among age groups (9–12 years, 13–15 years, and 16–18 years); also to compare the difference in adult and child-derived MET values (ΔMET).
VO2 was higher for tennis match play vs. practice (P < .05) and there was a trend for 16 to 18 year olds having lower VO2 than 9 to 12 year olds (P = .055). ΔMET did not differ between settings but varied by age group (P = .004); it was highest in 9- to 12-year-olds and lowest in 16- to 18-year-olds.
Youth expend more energy while playing a tennis match than practice, regardless of age. Child-derived MET values equaled those of adults once youth reached ages 16 to 18.