Unravelling tennis performance: creating monitoring tools to measure and understand technical and tactical skills

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    The key in elite tennis performance is suggested to be the combination of outstanding technical and tactical skills. However, little is known about which specific skills are important to progress towards elite tennis performance. Moreover, there are no reliable, valid and feasible tools to assess technical and tactical skills in youth tennis players. Therefore, in this thesis, tools with sufficient psychometric properties were developed to measure technical and tactical skills in a tennis-specific context - contributing to both scientific and practical purposes. An on-court tennis test was developed to assess technical skills based on accuracy (target areas), ball speed (radar system) and percentage errors. A new instrument with closed-ended questions was designed to examine tactical skills, in particular ‘Anticipation and positioning’, ‘Game intelligence and adaptability’, ‘Decision-making’, and ‘Recognizing game situations’. Our studies showed that outstanding technical skills, especially accuracy under increased task complexity (i.e. high temporal and cognitive pressure), were considered essential to progress towards elite tennis performance. Findings of this thesis also suggest that these technical skills continue to develop in adolescence in a group of youth talented tennis players. From a practical perspective, the tools created in this thesis are valuable for coaches and players to enhance tennis performance. In addition to monitoring the progress of players, tools can assist in identifying relative strengths and weaknesses of players as well as provide essential information about underlying skills that require most attention to progress towards elite performance.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Elferink-Gemser, Marije, Supervisor
    • Visscher, Chris, Supervisor
    • Huijgen, Barbara, Co-supervisor
    Award date17-May-2023
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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