A comparison of the physical fitness, athletic performance and competitive achievements of junior and senior tennis players
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The Japan Tennis Association established the Tennis Field Test as a tool for aiding the development of effective coaching methods and improving the competitive achievements of individual elite tennis players. On the basis of such evaluations, specific coaching methods can be developed for individual tennis players. This study aims to evaluate the physical fitness and athletic performance of tennis players using the Tennis Field Test, and to compare these attributes between players of different ages and abilities. A total of 48 tennis players participated, of which 24 were junior players (including 15 regional representatives), and 24 were senior players (including 18 national representatives). The subjects were further subdivided into average and superior groups on the basis of their competitive achievements in regional or national tournaments. All subjects participated in the Tennis Field Test, which consists of the following six items: the number of sit-ups performed in 30 sec (an index of muscular endurance), the standing long jump distance (an index of leg power), the sit and reach test (an index of flexibility), the time taken to perform the spider run (an index of agility), the time taken to sprint 10 m (an index of speed), and the distance run in three minutes (an index of whole-body endurance capacity). In this study, the subjects’ sit and reach test data were not examined due to differences in the measurement methods used between junior and senior tennis players. Among the junior tennis players, the superior group performed faster in the spider run than the average group (p = 0.0011). Among the senior tennis players, the superior group achieved a longer mean distance during the three-minute run than the average group (p = 0.0223). The test results of the remaining items for both groups were relatively similar. This study suggests that competitive achievement is associated with agility among junior tennis players, and is associated with whole-body endurance capacity among senior tennis players.