Honorary Figure of Russian Higher Education, Dr.Hab., Professor A.E. Bolotin1
Dr.Hab., Professor V.P. Sushchenko1
Dr.Sc.Psych., Professor A.A. Bobrishchev2
Postgraduate Chunguan J1
1Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg University of State Fire Service of EMERCOM of Russia, St. Petersburg
Keywords: educational conditions, injury prevention, strength-speed training, tennis players
Background. A variety of tactical challenges coming up in the modern tennis game require new speed-strength and work capacity training methods and systems being developed and applied. Modern tennis tournaments expose tennis players to extremely high physical loads that require excellent speed-strength qualities to be coped with; and the practical studies show that individual success in modern tennis competitions is increasingly dependent on how well the speed-strength qualities are developed in the athletes . At the same time, it should be emphasized that the speed-strength development training is generally associated with higher risks of injuries, and it is for this reason that the injury-prevention component of the speed-strength development systems is given an increasingly high priority in the pre-competitive training processes.
Modern tennis training systems demonstrate new trends in the players’ injury prevention priorities in the speed-strength training component. Generally, the modern speed-strength training systems are designed to secure the muscles and tendons being strengthened to form due injury-prevention mechanisms . However, analysis of the tennis injury rates we performed demonstrated that there are still quite a few outstanding issues in the injury prevention studies and initiatives. One of them is the inadequate physical fitness of tennis players that gives them little chance to meet many tactical challenges in the modern game. And it is not unusual that the high injury rates make many tennis players unable to compete in top-ranking events and, therefore, they lose rating points followed by disincentives for and further detriment to their competitive form.
A few recent studies by the national and foreign researchers reporting progress in new health-protection technologies applicable in tennis have demonstrated that a prudential education activity in the speed-strength development training component may help scale down the injury risks in the process [1-4].
Objective of the study was to provide substantiations for a variety of injury-prevention educational methods in the speed-strength development training in modern tennis.
Methods and structure of the study. For the purposes of the study, we conducted opinion polls of 57 subjects including tennis coaches, players and team physicians. The opinion poll was designed to explore the tennis injury report and find key reasons for the injuries and, based on the input data, develop and offer a set of special education tools to prevent injuries in the speed-strength development training process.
In the study design process, we assumed that it is the tennis injury statistics to be used as a basis for the injury-prevention training tools being designed. We further encouraged the tennis coaches and players under the survey to analyze and report the physiological mechanisms of potential contribution to the high injury rates. It should be noted that one of the reasons for the survey was the need to find a way out of the existing situation when different existing training systems apply unreasonably broad range of not always grounded injury-prevention methods. Therefore, we assumed that the initiatives can unlikely be efficient enough unless we first explore the reasons and origins of injuries in modern tennis and try counter them.
The critical re-consideration of the existing research information on the physiological mechanisms of injuries in tennis made it possible to offer a reasonable approach to the set of efficient injury-prevention tools and educational conditions in the speed-strength development training process being designed and theoretically grounded.
Study results and discussion. Our study of the tennis injury reporting data shows that it is the tendon strains and muscle pulls that are the most frequent injuries that account for 25.2% of the total data array; ankle joint injuries go second with the rate of 19.8%; shoulder and elbow joint injuries were reported at 18.5% and 14.7% of the total, respectively; inguinal thigh muscle injuries accounted for 10.3%; and lumbosacral spinal injuries were estimated at 6.5% of the total injury rate. Much more seldom in tennis competitions are the knee joint injuries (5.2%) and other injuries (1.1%).
The poll of tennis coaches and sport medicine specialists resulted in the following main reported reasons for the high injury rates: drawbacks in the speed-strength development education and training process; and the inadequate initial physical fitness levels of the players. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the traditional speed-strength development education and training and pre-game warm-up practices are poorly supported by special practices to strengthen limb muscles, joints and tendons; in addition, injuries may be due to the tennis courts being in poor condition (e.g., after rainfalls); and to the insufficient health control and physical state self-control by the players. Based on these input data, the further study was designed to identify and substantiate efficient injury-prevention educational conditions for tennis players (see Table 1 hereunder).
The study data and analyses were indicative of the injury origins and growth rates being largely due to the lack of commonly accepted concepts of injury-prevention physical practices. The critical re-consideration of the existing research information on the physiological mechanisms of injuries in tennis made it possible to offer a reasonable approach to the set of efficient injury-prevention tools and educational conditions in the speed-strength development training process being designed and theoretically grounded.
As a result of the study, we identified a few educational tools to prevent injuries in tennis. The respondents helped us specify the most efficient injury-prevention practices and develop a highly effective methodology applicable in the speed-strength development training process and tailored to the actual physical fitness levels of the tennis players.
Table 1. Ranking of the injury-prevention educational tools applicable in the speed-strength development training process in tennis (n=57)
Ranking index, %
Most efficient injury-prevention practices
Most effective speed-strength development training practices tailored to actual physical fitness levels of players
Comprehensive control of the musculotendinous apparatus condition with an emphasis on shoulder, elbow and ankle joints
Precise rating of physical loads tailored to actual physical fitness levels of players
Due injury prevention management tools applied to players in after-illness recovery periods and/or having health complaints prior to training sessions
Practical knowledge and skill improvement training of coaches to update them in the injury prevention aspects of modern tennis training systems
Cultivating prudent injury prevention practices in tennis training process, with an emphasis on injury prevention pre-game warm-up practices
Due attention to individual traits of musculoskeletal and musculotendinous apparatuses of tennis players in the training process
Top priority in the training process is to be given to the comprehensive controls of the musculotendinous apparatus condition with an emphasis on the shoulder, elbow and ankle joints of the tennis players and to the precise rating and management of physical loads in the process as required by the actual physical fitness levels of the players. Due injury prevention process management tools is to be applied to the players in the post-illness recovery periods and/or having health complaints prior to the training sessions; and practical knowledge and skill improvement training courses are to be offered to the coaches to update them in the injury prevention aspects of the modern tennis training systems.
It is reported by many studies that the musculoskeletal apparatus of tennis players is exposed to high dynamic loads in the whole game process, and the loads were found to have some training effect. However, our study found no direct correlation of loads and injury rates in the study data. The study data and analyses show the locations of injuries having apparently no connection with the practical game actions of the tennis players. Furthermore, it was found that the formally registered injuries were growing both with the physical loads being excessively increased and significantly reduced. We believe that these effects may be explained by the so-called micro-injuries as some study data give the grounds to consider micro-injuries as one of the key reasons for the injuries in tennis.
Our study found that one of the reasons for the formally reported injuries in tennis is permanent excessive strains of the lower-limb muscles plus inflammations in the shoulder and elbow joint muscles and tendons. It should be noted in this context that it is the wrong muscular action stereotypes in the serving and game techniques that appear to be the prime reason for many injuries of tennis players. These inefficient muscular action techniques were found to cause physical over-stresses in the relevant segments of the musculoskeletal apparatus of the tennis players followed by degeneration processes being activated in the muscles and tendons over-strained in the tennis game.
Furthermore, the study demonstrated that the degeneration effects in the muscles are largely caused by disorders in the tendinous apparatus of the tennis players. The relevant negative changes in tonuses of the lower-limb muscles at certain stages of the injury propagation process were found to be highly expressed in tennis players. Therefore, the study data and analyses were used as a basis for special injury-prevention practices applicable at every stage of the pre-season training process being developed. The practices were found to be of particularly high positive effect on the tendons strengthening process and muscle degeneration process being inhibited in the subject tennis players.
Generally, the study results were found indicative of the theoretically and practically grounded injury prevention educational tools being highly efficient in the speed-strength development training process in tennis.
Conclusion. Injuries in tennis normally occur when the combined external and internal damaging impacts come in excess of the body compensatory potential. This was the prime consideration for the theoretically and practically grounded injury prevention educational tools being applied in the speed-strength development training process in tennis and proved highly efficient and promising for the body compensatory potential being built up.
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Corresponding author: email@example.com
The study has identified and offered a variety of injury prevention educational tools in tennis. The opinion poll under the study helped us specify the most efficient injury-prevention practices and develop a highly effective methodology applicable in the speed-strength development training process and tailored to the actual physical fitness levels of the tennis players. Top priority in the training process is to be given to the comprehensive control of the musculotendinous apparatus condition with an emphasis on the shoulder, elbow and ankle joints of the tennis players and to the precise rating and management of physical loads in the process as required by the actual physical fitness levels of the players. Due injury prevention tools are to be applied to the players in the post-illness recovery periods and/or having health complaints prior to the training sessions; and practical knowledge and skill improvement training courses are to be offered to the coaches to update them in the injury prevention aspects of the modern tennis training systems.