A comparison of the perceptual and technical demands of tennis training, simulated match play, and competitive tournaments

A.P. Murphy, R. Duffield, A. Kellett, Machar Reid

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc. Purpose: High-performance tennis environments aim to prepare athletes for competitive demands through simulated-match scenarios and drills. With a dearth of direct comparisons between training and tournament demands, the current investigation compared the perceptual and technical characteristics of training drills, simulated match play, and tournament matches. Methods: Data were collected from 18 high-performance junior tennis players (gender: 10 male, 8 female; age 16 ± 1.1 y) during 6 ± 2 drill-based training sessions, 5 ± 2 simulated match-play sessions, and 5 ± 3 tournament matches from each participant. Tournament matches were further distinguished by win or loss and against seeded or nonseeded opponents. Notational analysis of stroke and error rates, winners, and serves, along with rating of perceived physical exertion (RPE) and mental exertion was measured postsession. Results: Repeated-measures analyses of variance and effect-size analysis revealed that training sessions were significantly shorter in duration than tournament matches (P .05; d = 1.26, d = 1.05, respectively). Mental exertion in training was lower than in both simulated match play and tournaments (P >.05; d = 1.10, d = 0.86, respectively). Stroke rates during tournaments exceeded those observed in training (P .05, d <0.80). Conclusions: Training in the form of drills or simulated match play appeared to inadequately replicate tournament demands in this cohort of players. Coaches should be mindful of match demands to best prescribe sessions of relevant duration, as well as internal (RPE) and technical (stroke rate) load, to aid tournament preparation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-47
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


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