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|Title: ||The relationship between fitness, exercise adherence and tennis performance in young, British, elite players|
|Authors: ||Harrison, Rosemary E.|
|Issue Date: ||1998|
|Publisher: ||© R.E. Harrison|
|Abstract: ||Tennis not only requires sound technique and skill, but the recent development of the
game has led to increased importance being placed on a diverse range of physical
attributes. Anecdotally, fitness is a prerequisite to successful performance in topclass
senior tennis. However, the relevance of fitness and physical training to the
junior game has received scant research attention. This thesis describes two related
studies which examine the importance of fitness to junior tennis and the factors which
underpin fitness improvements and adherence to fitness training in elite, junior
The primary aim of the first study was to investigate whether there was a relationship
between fitness and performance in elite, junior tennis. The possible influence of age
and gender on this relationship was also of interest. 247 (139 males; 108 females)
players aged between 9 and 17 years were fitness tested three times a year between
1992-1996. Scores achieved on the Court Sprint, Fan Drill, Standing Broad Jump and
Multistage Fitness tests were keyed into a database for the purpose of statistical
analysis. Scores on all four tests were significantly correlated to age. Significant
gender differences in test scores became apparent between the ages of 12-14 years.
Taking age into account, the boys' overall performance on the four tests, and the girls'
Standing Broad Jump and Court Sprint scores were significantly (but weakly)
correlated with performance rating. The strongest correlations between fitness test
scores and rating occurred, on the whole, between 14-16 years in boys, and between
12-14 years in girls. All between-test correlations were significant. Despite the weak
fitness test/performance rating correlations mentioned above, in general, fitness test
scores were concluded to bear little relation to tennis performance (rating) in the
junior elite player. Improved tennis performance and fitness test scores were thought
to be a result of increased age and physical development. Performance on one fitness
test was related to performance on the others.
The second study aimed to establish whether there was a relationship between fitness
and adherence to exercise and physical training. A range of research methods,
including interview, postal questionnaire and self-administered questionnaire, were
employed to collect data from players, parents and coaches regarding players'
attitudes towards, and patterns of physical activity. The player sample included the
three fittest and the three least fit male and female players within three discrete age
groups (11-12 years, 13-14 years, and 15-16 years). Levels of intrinsic motivation to
fitness training were shown to significantly influence adherence to a fitness
programme in players. However, adherence to a fitness programme was unrelated to
players' fitness levels, as were levels of habitual physical activity and social factors.
It was concluded that the key factor underpinning fitness improvements in both male
and female players was physical development/maturity.|
|Description: ||A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy of Loughborough University.|
|Appears in Collections:||MPhil Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)|
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