Sport Science and Medicine Unit

Melbourne, Australia

Sport Science and Medicine Unit

Melbourne, Australia
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Reid M.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Reid M.,University of Western Australia | Morgan S.,Australian Institute of Sport | Churchill T.,University of Canberra | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Sports Sciences | Year: 2014

Success in professional tennis is measured, at least in part, by rankings. However, there is little quantitative evidence to inform stakeholders regarding what represents the typical ranking progress of top-ranked players. The objective of this study was therefore to compare the ranking trajectories of male players whom achieved peak professional rankings in the Top 250, 175, 100, 50, 20 and 10. The 11,396 birthdates and weekly professional rankings of all players between 27 August 1973 and 31 October 2011 were collated. The peak ranks for each athlete according to their both chronological age and number of years on tour were identified and athletes were categorised into one of six career-peak ranking bands. One-way analysis of variance tests confirmed distinctive ranking trajectories, which were most pronounced among Top 10 players. The rankings of these players were statistically distinguishable following players' second year on tour or by 17 years of age. The ranking signature of all Top 100 players emerged as significantly different to players that failed to enter the Top 100 by their fourth year on the tour. Indeed, the representation of ranking as a function of years on tour should be considered for use by tennis policy-makers in the future. © 2014 Crown Copyright.


Reid M.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Reid M.,University of Western Australia | Whiteside D.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Whiteside D.,University of Western Australia | And 3 more authors.
Sports Biomechanics | Year: 2013

The development of a powerful and accurate serve is a priority for most tennis players. Various drills are proposed to enhance characteristics of the serve such as ball speed and spin, yet research has failed to address their efficacy. The aim of this study was therefore to compare the kinematics of a flat serve with that of a service drill, where the player serves from the knees in an endeavour to promote specific changes in trunk, arm, racket, and ball motion. A 22-camera 250 Hz VICON MX motion analysis system captured the trunk, arm, racket, and ball kinematics of eight high-performance junior players hitting flat serves and knee serves. Paired t-tests assessed within-group kinematic differences between the two serve conditions. Changes in ball toss, trunk, arm, and racket kinematics were a manifestation of the constraints presented by the knee serve. These changes effected an increased angle of attack of the racket but without greater frontal plane trunk rotation, which represented primary objectives of the knee serve. In sum, partial support was offered to the use of the knee serve as an intervention that promotes immediate, specific changes in trunk and racket kinematics in the service actions of elite junior players. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Vickery W.,University of Newcastle | Dascombe B.,University of Newcastle | Duffield R.,Charles Sturt University | Kellett A.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Portus M.,Praxis Sport Science
Journal of Sports Sciences | Year: 2013

As cricket training typically involves separate skill and conditioning sessions, this study reported on the movement demands, physiological responses and reproducibility of the demands of small-sided cricket games. Thirteen amateur, male cricket players (age: 22.8 ± 3.5 years, height: 1.78 ± 0.06 m, body mass: 78.6 ± 7.1 kg) completed two sessions of a generic small-sided cricket game, termed Battlezone; consisting of six repeat 8-over bouts. Heart rate and movement demands were continuously recorded, whilst blood lactate concentration and perceived exertion were recorded after each respective bout. Batsmen covered the greatest distance (1147 ± 175 m) and demonstrated the greatest mean movement speed (63 ± 9 m · min-1) during each bout. The majority of time (65-86%) was spent with a heart rate of between 51-85% HRmax and a blood lactate concentration of 1.1-2.0 mmol · L-1. Rating of perceived exertion ranged between 4.2-6.0. Movement demands and physiological responses did not differ between standardised sessions within respective playing positions (P > 0.05). The reliability for the majority of movement demands and physiological responses were moderate to high (CV: 5-17%; ICC: 0.48-1.00) within all playing positions. These results suggest that the physiological responses and movement characteristics of generic small-sided cricket games were consistent between sessions within respective playing positions. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Vickery W.,University of Newcastle | Dascombe B.,University of Newcastle | Duffield R.,Charles Sturt University | Kellett A.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Portus M.,Praxis Sport Science
Journal of Sports Sciences | Year: 2013

This study investigated the physiological responses and movement demands associated with modified versions of small-sided games for cricket training, termed 'Battlezone'. Eleven (22.2 ± 3.6 years; 1.80 ± 0.06 m; 81.7 ± 11.4 kg) male, cricket players volunteered to perform each of four modified 8-over scenarios of Battlezone. Modifications to Battlezone included reducing the field size, removal of a fielder, a combination of these modifications and additional rule changes. Heart rate, blood lactate concentration, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and the movement patterns of participants were measured during each scenario. The total distances covered per 8-over bout ranged from 626 ± 335 m for wicketkeepers to 1795 ± 457 m for medium-fast bowlers; although similar distances (P & 0.05) were covered within positions between the four different scenarios. Between scenarios, the greatest mean speed, heart rate and blood lactate responses occurred when the rules were changed, resulting in increased movement patterns (P < 0.05), most notably for batsmen and wicketkeepers. In contrast, altering the playing field size or player number did not significantly influence (P & 0.05) these responses. These results suggest that the physical demands of cricket-specific training can be increased via rule variations including hit-and-run activities, more so than field size or player number. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Whiteside D.,University of Western Australia | Whiteside D.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Elliott B.,University of Western Australia | Lay B.,University of Western Australia | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Biomechanics | Year: 2013

The importance of the flat serve in tennis is well documented, with an abundance of research evaluating the service technique of adult male players. Comparatively, the female and junior serves have received far less attention. Therefore, the aims of this study were to quantify the flat serve kinematics in elite prepubescent, pubescent, and postpubescent female tennis players. Full body, racket, and ball kinematics were derived using a 22-camera Vicon motion capture system. Racket velocity was significantly lower in the prepubescent group than in the two older groups. In generating racket velocity, the role of the serving arm appears to become more pronounced after the onset of puberty, whereas leg drive and "shoulder-over-shoulder" rotation mature even later in development. These factors are proposed to relate to strength deficits and junior players' intentions to reduce the complexity of the skill. Temporally, coupling perception (cues from the ball) and action (body movements) are less refined in the prepubescent serve, presumably reducing the "rhythm" (and dynamism) of the service action. Practically, there appears scope for equipment scaling to preserve kinematic relevance between the junior and senior serve and promote skill acquisition. © 2013 Human Kinetics, Inc.


Kovalchik S.A.,Victoria University of Melbourne | Bane M.K.,Electronic Arts | Reid M.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Reid M.,University of Western Australia
Journal of Sports Sciences | Year: 2016

Official rankings are the most common measure of success in professional women’s tennis. Despite their importance for earning potential and tournament seeding, little is known about ranking trajectories of female players and their influence on career success. Our objective was to conduct a comprehensive study of the career progression of elite female tennis talent. The study examined the ranking trajectories of the top 250 female professionals between 1990 and 2015. Using regression modelling of yearly peak rankings, we found a strong association between the shape of the ranking trajectory and the highest career ranking earned. Players with the highest career peak ranking were the youngest when first ranked. For example, top 10 players were first ranked at age 15.5 years (99% CI = 14.8–15.9), 1.2 years (99% CI = 0.8–1.5) earlier than top 51–100 players. Top 10 players were also ranked in the top 100 longer than other players, holding a top 100 ranking until a mean age of 29.0 years (99% CI = 27.8–30.3) compared with age 24.4 years (99% CI = 23.7–25.2) for top 51–100 players. Ranking trajectories were more distinct with respect to player age than years from first ranking. The present study’s findings will be instructive for players, coaches, and administrators in setting goals and assessing athlete development in women’s tennis. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


Campbell A.,Curtin University Australia | Straker L.,Curtin University Australia | O'Sullivan P.,Curtin University Australia | Elliott B.,University of Western Australia | And 2 more authors.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise | Year: 2013

PURPOSE: This study aimed to quantify and compare lumbar region kinetics in kick and flat serves performed by elite, adolescent male players with and without a history of low back pain (LBP). Lumbar region kinematics, as well as racquet velocity and the position of the ball at impact, was described to facilitate kinetic data interpretation. METHODS: Twenty Tennis Australia adolescent male players participated; 7 had a history of disabling LBP and confirmed L4/L5 injury and 13 were age-, height-, mass-, and performance-matched controls. The VICON motion analysis system was used to record racquet, upper and lower limb, trunk, and lumbar movement during three "flat" and three "kick" serves. A customized mathematical model calculated lumbar region kinetics/kinematics, racquet velocity, and ball position at impact, and these are reported as if all players were right-handed. A series of 2 × 2 mixed-model ANOVA were used to compare between pain/no pain and kick/flat serves. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in racquet velocity or ball position at impact between pain groups or serve types. The players with LBP reported significantly greater (mean difference = 1.5 N·kg-1) peak left lateral force than the control group. The flat serve was associated with significantly greater flexion moments (mean difference = 2.7 N·kg-1) than the kick serve. CONCLUSIONS: The lumbar region undergoes substantial loading during both the kick and the flat tennis serves, including lateral flexion forces approximately eight times those experienced during running. Given that these left lateral flexion forces are significantly greater in players with a history of disabling LBP and occur simultaneous with peak vertical force and extension and right lateral rotations, this may be an important LBP mechanism in this population. Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Sports Medicine.


Campbell A.,Curtin University Australia | O'Sullivan P.,Curtin University Australia | Straker L.,Curtin University Australia | Elliott B.,University of Western Australia | And 2 more authors.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise | Year: 2014

PURPOSE: This study compared regional lumbar (upper and lower), pelvis, trunk, and lower limb kinematics between elite male adolescent players with and without a history of low back pain (LBP) during the kick and flat serves as well as regional lumbar mobility and serving kinematics relative to the end of range. METHODS: Seven players with a history of LBP and confirmed L4/L5 injury and 13 controls matched for age, height, mass, and performance underwent a three-dimensional motion analysis during serving trials and lumbar mobility assessments. Regional lumbar, pelvis, trunk, and lower limb kinematics were compared between pain/no pain and kick/flat serves using a series of 2 × 2 mixed-model ANOVA, with independent samples t-tests used to compare regional lumbar mobility between pain/no pain. RESULTS: The pain group had significantly reduced lower lumbar mobility in every plane of motion than the no pain group. The pain group demonstrated less right lower lumbar and pelvis/shoulder rotation, greater right pelvic tilt, earlier peak right knee extension velocity during the drive phase of the tennis serves, and greater lower lumbar and pelvis left rotation, upper lumbar left lateral flexion, and anterior pelvis tilt during the forward-swing phase. All players approached their lumbar end of range during the serve. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this investigation suggest that a multidimensional LBP management and prevention strategy is required, including the assessment of regional spinal mobility, the lower limb and upper limb and spinal kinematics, and the integrated work between clinicians and coaches to adapt adverse technique. Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Sports Medicine.


Whiteside D.,University of Western Australia | Whiteside D.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Elliott B.,University of Western Australia | Lay B.,University of Western Australia | And 2 more authors.
Human Movement Science | Year: 2013

While velocity generation is an obvious prerequisite to proficient tennis serve performance, it is also the only stroke where players are obliged to negotiate a unique target constraint. Therefore, the dearth of research attending to the accuracy component of the serve is surprising. This study compared the body, racquet and ball kinematics characterising successful serves and service faults, missed into the net, in two groups of elite junior female players and one professional female tennis player. Three-dimensional body, racquet and ball kinematics were recorded using a 22-camera VICON motion analysis system. There were no differences in body kinematics between successful serves and service faults, suggesting that service faults cannot be attributed to a single source of biomechanical error. However, service faults missing into the net are characterized by projection angles significantly further below the horizontal, implying that consistency in this end-point parameter is critical to successful performance. Regulation of this parameter appears dependent on compensatory adjustments in the distal elbow and wrist joints immediately prior to impact and also perceptual feedback. Accordingly, coordination of the distal degrees of freedom and a refined perception-action coupling appear more important to success than any isolated mechanical component of the service action. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Reid M.,Sport Science and Medicine Unit | Reid M.,University of Western Australia | Elliott B.,University of Western Australia | Crespo M.,International Tennis Federation
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine | Year: 2013

The forehand ranks closely behind the serve in importance in the sport of tennis. Yet, while the serve has been the focus of a litany of research reviews, the literature describing forehand stroke production has not been reviewed as extensively. The purposes of this article are therefore to review the research describing the mechanics of the forehand and then to appraise that research alongside the coach-led development of the stroke. The consensus of this research supports the importance of axial rotation of the pelvis, trunk, shoulder horizontal adduction and internal rotation as the primary contributors to the development of racket speed in the forehand. The relationship between grip style and racket velocity is similarly well established. However, it is also clear that there remains considerable scope for future research to longitudinally examine the inter-relationships between different teaching methodologies, equipment scaling and forehand mechanics. © Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2013).

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