Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Jim McMillan

Committee Member 1

Barry Joyner

Committee Member 2

Stephen Rossi

Abstract

To date very few research studies are available describing a detailed sports science profile of collegiate women tennis players, as many other existing studies only provide data on Junior tennis players or middle-aged subjects. The purpose of this investigation was to examine seasonal changes in training and competition on physiological and psychological measures in 13 NCAA Division I collegiate women tennis players (mean ± SD: age, 19.69 ± 1.32 years; height, 168.82 ± 4.59 cm; and weight, 64.75 ± 2.89 kg). All testing was conducted during the fall season. All subjects signed a University IRB approved informed consent form. Every two weeks (T1 - T6) subjects performed a maximal serve velocity test and an athlete burnout questionnaire (ABQ) from which the global burnout index (the mean score of the 3 ABQ subscales) was used. Subjects also completed a spider agility test and the Australian Sports Commission 20m shuttle run test at T1, T4, and T6. Lastly, the team indicated their ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) after every practice and conditioning session, which was later used to calculate training load (RPE x min). One Way ANOVA with repeated measures testing revealed no differences (p > .05) in maximal serve velocity, spider agility test times, and global burnout index scores throughout the fall season. However 20m shuttle run test values revealed that aerobic capacity increased significantly (p <0.05) from T1 to T4 (mean ± SD, 34.12 ± 4.50 ml/kg/min to 39.05 ± 4.55 ml/kg/min) with no differences between T4 and T6 (39.05 ± 4.55 ml/kg/min to 40.15 ± 3.62 ml/kg/min). The RPE results revealed that there was an fluctuating pattern in the teams training load, which decreased significantly (p < 0.05) from T1 to T6 (mean ± SD, 3020.00 +/- 695.85 to 1933.33 ± 959.89). Dependent t-tests revealed significant differences (p < 0.05) when comparing T1 (as baseline) to T6 in the athletes' maximal (and average) serve velocity (mean ± SD, 146.45 ± 7.16 km/hr to 140.66 ± 7.96 km/hr), and global burnout scores (mean ± SD, 2.35 ± 0.50 to 2.54 ± 0.56). Therefore, fatigue as indicated by an increased global burnout index and decreased maximal serve velocity increased in women tennis players across their fall season even as workload decreased. In conclusion, it is vital for a conditioning program to be implemented during the three month summer break to which collegiate tennis teams can adhere. This would decrease the potential for detraining and ensure more time could be spent on other important determinants of tennis performance. Collegiate tennis coaches and strength and conditioning specialists should train tennis players in an anaerobic, tennis-specific manner that works the correct energy systems in order to accomplish the major goal of tennis training, which is to avoid the onset of fatigue during competition and practice.

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