Wheeling performance in wheelchair tennis: understanding and improving a complex skill

Thomas Rietveld

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

    179 Downloads (Pure)


    Wheelchair tennis became part of the Paralympic games in 1992 and is an excellent example of the natural inclusion of a disability sport into a main sports event. Wheelchair tennis is playing tennis while moving around in a wheelchair. The current thesis focused on the wheeling performance part of wheelchair tennis, which is the ability of the athlete to handle the wheelchair on court and the propulsion technique behind this performance. Propelling a wheelchair while holding a tennis racket is a complex skill with a constant interaction between the player, tennis racket, wheelchair and environment. The current thesis aimed to gain a better understanding of these factors and their interactions to eventually improve performance. The wheelchair tennis athlete uses the upper body for movement and has an increased risk to develop shoulder injuries. The wheelchair can be individually adjusted with almost endless possibilities. In wheelchair tennis the hand rim, seating position, wheel size and camber angle are of main interest. A new hand rim showed promising results on propulsion technique in inexperienced novices. Wheelchair tennis is played on different surfaces (grass, clay, hardcourt), which can influence performance. It is possible to test wheelchair tennis players on a set of developed field tests on these surfaces. The most important wheeling performance variables during a wheelchair tennis match were determined, which can be used as feedback for players and coaches. The wheelchair ergometry and sensor technology used in this thesis could eventually be extended to a broader wheelchair sports and rehabilitation setting.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • van der Woude, Lucas, Supervisor
    • Groot ,de, Sonja, Supervisor
    • Vegter, Riemer, Co-supervisor
    Award date28-Nov-2022
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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