Inertial measurement units to estimate drag forces and power output during standardised wheelchair tennis coast-down and sprint tests

Thomas Rietveld*, Barry S Mason, Victoria L Goosey-Tolfrey, Lucas H V van der Woude, Sonja de Groot, Riemer J K Vegter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The purpose of this study was to describe and explore an inertial measurement unit-based method to analyse drag forces and external power loss in wheelchair tennis, using standardised coast-down and 10 m sprint tests. Drag forces and power output were explored among different wheelchair-athlete combinations and playing conditions (tyre pressure, court-surface). Eight highly trained wheelchair tennis players participated in this study. Three inertial measurement units (IMUs) were placed on the frame and axes of the wheels of their wheelchair. All players completed a set of three standardised coast-down trials and two 10 m sprints with different tyre pressures on hardcourt surface. One athlete completed additional tests on a clay/grass tennis-court. Coast-down based drag forces of 4.8-7.2 N and an external power loss of 9.6-14.4 W at a theoretical speed of 2 m/s were measured on hardcourt surface. A higher tyre pressure led to lower drag forces during coast-down tests on hardcourt surface (Fr (4) = 10.7, p = 0.03). For the single athlete, there was an external power loss of 10.4, 15.6 and 49.4 W, respectively, for the hardcourt, clay and grass. The current prediction of power output was implemented during coast-down testing; unfortunately, the power prediction during 10 m sprints was difficult to accomplish.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalSports biomechanics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26-Apr-2021

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