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The physiological and perceptual demands together with match notation of a four-set tennis match were studied in two elite professional players during the preparation for the 2008 Davis Cup. The design of this case report is unique in that it is the first to describe the demands of prolonged match-play (197 min) over four sets in ecologically valid conditions. The variables measured before and after each set included blood lactate and glucose concentrations, body mass, and perception of effort. Stroke count for each rally and heart rate were recorded during each set while salivary cortisol concentration was determined before and after the match. The rally length decreased as the match progressed. The results showed significant physiological stress, with each player losing greater than 2.5% of body mass (as fluid) and having elevated salivary cortisol concentrations after the match. Heart rate and perception of effort were also increased following each set indicating increasing stress. However, blood lactate decreased following the fourth set while blood glucose was maintained. The results also suggest that elite players may adjust work rates or tactics to cope with the increased perception of effort. This report shows that four sets of tennis are associated with increasing stress and fatigue.
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Physiological demands of match-play in elite tennis: A case study
RODRIGO V. GOMES
1
, AARON J. COUTTS
2
, LUIS VIVEIROS
3
, & MARCELO S. AOKI
1,4
1
School of Physical Education and Sport, University of Sa
˜o Paulo, Sa
˜o Paulo, Brazil,
2
School of Leisure, Sport and
Tourism, University of Technology of Sydney, Lindfield, NSW, Australia,
3
Department of Technology and Science, Brazilian
Olympic Committee, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and
4
School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, University of Sa
˜o Paulo, Sa
˜o
Paulo, Brazil
Abstract
The physiological and perceptual demands together with match notation of a four-set tennis match were studied in two elite
professional players during the preparation for the 2008 Davis Cup. The design of this case report is unique in that it is
the first to describe the demands of prolonged match-play (197 min) over four sets in ecologically valid conditions. The
variables measured before and after each set included blood lactate and glucose concentrations, body mass, and perception
of effort. Stroke count for each rally and heart rate were recorded during each set while salivary cortisol concentration was
determined before and after the match. The rally length decreased as the match progressed. The results showed significant
physiological stress, with each player losing greater than 2.5% of body mass (as fluid) and having elevated salivary cortisol
concentrations after the match. Heart rate and perception of effort were also increased following each set indicating
increasing stress. However, blood lactate decreased following the fourth set while blood glucose was maintained. The results
also suggest that elite players may adjust work rates or tactics to cope with the increased perception of effort. This report
shows that four sets of tennis are associated with increasing stress and fatigue.
Keywords: Racket sports, match analysis, fatigue, physiological demands, perception of effort
Introduction
Tennis requires players to perform short bursts of
high-intensity exercise interspersed with periods of
rest or low-intensity activities for a prolonged peri-
od (Fernandez, Mendez-Villanueva, & Pluim, 2006;
Kovacs, 2007; Mendez-Villanueva, Fernandez-
Fernandez, & Bishop, 2007a). Previous investiga-
tions have reported the heart rate responses, blood
metabolite changes, estimated energy expenditure
and oxygen consumption during competitive tennis
matches and training, providing considerable infor-
mation on the physiological demands of tennis (for
reviews, see Fernandez et al., 2006; Kovacs, 2007;
Mendez-Villanueva et al., 2007a). At present, how-
ever, there is relatively little information available
on the stressors of prolonged tennis match-play,
especially at the elite level (Mendez-Villanueva,
Fernandez-Fernandez, Bishop, Fernandez-Garcia,
& Terrados, 2007b).
The physiological responses to tennis match-play
have been reported to be moderate, with factors such
as individual playing style, court surface, and game
situation all influencing the response (Fernandez
et al., 2006; Kovacs, 2007; Mendez-Villanueva
et al., 2007a). In general, these previous studies
have reported mean heart rates of 60!80% of max-
imum (Ferrauti, Weber, & Wright, 2003; Kovacs,
2007) and mean blood lactate concentrations of less
than 4.0 mmol !l
"1
during matches consisting
of three sets (Fernandez et al., 2006; Fernandez-
Fernandez, Mendez-Villanueva, Fernandez-Garcia,
& Terrados, 2007). However, the major international
tournaments (e.g. Grand Slam events and Davis
Cup) are determined by the best of five sets (the first
player to win three sets wins the match) with the
longest matches lasting for more than 5 h. There have
been few reports of the stressors of tennis in profes-
sional male players, and none have reported on the
responses to matches that are longer than three
Correspondence: M. S. Aoki, School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, University of Sa
˜o Paulo, Av. Arlindo Bettio 1000, Sa
˜o Paulo, SP
03828-000, Brazil. E-mail: saldanha.caf@usp.br
European Journal of Sport Science, March 2011; 11(2): 105!109
ISSN 1746-1391 print/ISSN 1536-7290 online #2011 European College of Sport Science
DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2010.487118
Downloaded by [Dr Marcelo S. Aoki] at 05:37 25 October 2011
sets. Therefore, more information is required on the
demands of professional tennis for matches that are
longer than three sets.
Here, we report on the physiological, perceptual,
and time!motion demands of a four-set tennis match
played by top-level professional players during
preparation for the 2008 Davis Cup. The primary
aim of this case report was to describe the stressors
of match-play in elite professional tennis players.
We hypothesized that the physiological and percep-
tual demands would increase as playing time in-
creased and that these would impact on physical
performance. The findings of this repor t are relevant
to a very specific population of professional tennis
players, and provide new information that can be
used to guide the preparation of elite tennis players.
Methods
Experimental approach
It is important to understand the physiological
demands of top-level sporting events, so that specific
training and recovery strategies can be developed.
Limited data are available on the match demands of
professional tennis players, particularly over long
periods (i.e. five sets). This study was designed to
describe the physiological, perceptual, and perfor-
mance demands of professional tennis in conditions
similar to the 2008 Davis Cup. We examined these
responses under match-like conditions in top profes-
sional players who were preparing for international
competition. However, it should be acknowledged
that the competitive training match did not impose
the same psychological stress as a competitive match.
Participants
Two members of the Brazilian team (player 1: ATP
ranking#78, height 1.87 m, body mass 82.4 kg,
age 20 years, maximum heart rate 187 beats !min
"1
,
V
˙O
2max
57 ml !kg
"1
!min
"1
; player 2: ATP
ranking#120, height 1.77 m, body mass 76.5 kg,
age 26 years, maximum heart rate 183 beats !min
"1
,
V
˙O
2max
53 ml !kg
"1
!min
"1
) agreed to participate
in a best of five-set practice match as part of the
preparation for the 2008 Davis Cup. The Institu-
tional Ethics Review Board provided approval for
the study.
Competition procedures
The players were asked to prepare for the match in
the same way they would for any major competition.
Before the match, they received a standard break-
fast (carbohydrate 1 g !kg
"1
). Ad libitum food and
fluid intake (e.g. water, sports beverages, fruits, and
cereal bars) was recorded during the match. Carbo-
hydrate intakes (solid and liquid) during the match
were similar between the players (player 1: 1.0 g !
kg
"1
; player 2: 0.8 g !kg
"1
). The match started at
10:00 h.
The match was completed under International
Tennis Federation (ITF, 2002) competition regula-
tions, and was officiated by ITF-accredited umpires
and line judges. The match was best of five sets and
was played on an outdoor hard tennis court. The
number of sets (i.e. best of five sets), the balls used
(balls were changed after the first seven games and
then every nine games thereafter), and time breaks
(i.e. between points, change overs and sets were kept
to 20, 90, and 120 s, respectively) were in accor-
dance with ITF regulations. The match was played
in hot environmental conditions (temperature: 26.0!
27.58C; humidity: 66!70%).
Heart rate (HR) was monitored and recorded at
5-s intervals during the match using a chest monitor
(Polar Team System
#
, Polar, Kempele, Finland).
After the match, the heart rate data were down-
loaded to a computer and then categorized into heart
rate zones to indicate time spent in low- (B70%
HR
max
), moderate- (70!85% HR
max
), and high-
intensity (!85% HR
max
) zones using the Polar
Team System software. Maximum heart rate was
determined prior to testing during regular maximal
oxygen consumption tests conducted in a sports
science laboratory. Exercise intensity was also mea-
sured using the CR-10 ratings of perceived exertion
(RPE) scale at the end of each set (Borg, Ljunggren,
& Ceci, 1985). Session RPE was also measured 30
min after the match (Foster et al., 2001). Changes in
body mass were determined by weighting between
sets, plus adding fluid intake to derive a body mass
difference (as fluid).
A lancet was used to puncture the ear lobe and
draw capillary blood. Blood lactate and glucose
concentrations were determined by Accucheck
#
monitors (Roche
#
, Germany). All blood samples
were drawn while the players were seated during
breaks after each set. Cortisol was assessed by saliva
samples collected before the warm-up and immedi-
ately after the match using Salivettes
#
swabs. Saliva
was analysed in duplicate for cortisol concentration
using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits
(Salimetrics
#
, USA).
A simple match notation analysis was conducted
by line judges manually with pen and paper by
counting the number of strokes each player played
during each rally.
Results
Total match duration was 197 min. Player 2 won
the match in four sets: 5!7 (60 min; player 2 won),
106 R. V. Gomes et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Marcelo S. Aoki] at 05:37 25 October 2011
3!6 (48 min; player 2 won), 7!6 (45 min; player 1
won), 4!6 (44 min; player 2 won). Figure 1 shows the
proportion of time spent in the low-, moderate-, and
high-intensity heart rate zones during each set and
the entire match. The proportion of strokes per rally
during the tennis match play is shown in Figure 2.
During the match, player 1 and player 2 lost 3.5%
and 2.6% of body mass, respectively (Table I). The
physiological and perceptual responses during the
match of both players are shown in Table II. Salivary
cortisol concentration increased by 25% (from 17.1
to 21.3 mmol !l
"1
) and 16% (from 22.9 to 26.6
mmol !l
"1
) in player 1 and player 2, respectively.
Session RPE scores were 8 and 6 for player 1 and 2,
respectively.
Discussion
In agreement with our initial hypothesis, the present
results show that four sets of elite-level tennis played
provides significant physiological and perceptual
stress. Together with an increase in internal training
load, we observed a decrease in rally length as the
match progressed. Collectively, these results also
show that players may adopt a different playing
strategy in an attempt to cope with increasing
physiological and perceptual stress.
In the present study, rally length was reduced as
the match progressed. Indeed, in the third and fourth
sets more than 60% of the rallies had two strokes or
less, whereas in the first two sets most rallies were of
2!4 strokes. It is not clear if this was due to a change
in tactics or fatigue (i.e. carbohydrate depletion or
dehydration); however, it is possible that an increased
sense of effort was involved in regulating the external
loads during the match.
The heart rate responses during the match were si-
milar to those in previous tennis studies (Fernandez
et al., 2006; Hornery, Farrow, Mujika, & Young,
2007; Smekal et al., 2001) that demonstrated a
moderate aerobic load in professional tennis. A novel
finding of the present study is the upward drift in
the proportion of time spent in the moderate and
higher heart rate zones by both players as the sets
progressed. This effect was greater in player 1 who
also lost most body mass (3.5%). These findings
suggest that ‘‘cardiovascular drift’’ may occur during
prolonged tennis match-play and highlight the im-
portance of appropriate hydration strategies when
playing in the heat. In fact, both players suffered a
significant body weight loss due to dehydration.
It is well known that training strain modulates
the secretion of stress hormones, par ticularly cate-
cholamines and glucocorticoids (Hill et al., 2008;
Leal-Cerro et al., 2003). As expected, post-match
salivary cortisol concentration was increased com-
pared with pre-match values, reinforcing our initial
hypothesis that a prolonged match imposes a sig-
nificant internal load.
The blood lactate concentration of the players in
this match were similar to the values reported during
a round robin tournament in eight professional
tennis players on a clay court (3.890.2 mmol !
l
"1
) (Mendez-Villanueva et al., 2007b), but higher
than that of 20 nationally ranked players (2.190.9
mmol !l
"1
) (Smekal et al., 2001) during three-set
tennis. It has previously been reported that blood
lactate concentration in tennis players is influenced
Figure 1. Percentage of time spent in low- (open), moderate- (grey), and high-intensity (black) heart rate (HR) zones for each set, and the
overall tennis match.
Figure 2. Proportion of strokes per rally during tennis match-play.
Table I. Changes in body mass, fluid intake, and sweat rate during
the tennis match
Player 1 Player 2
Change in body mass (%) 3.5 2.6
Fluid intake (ml) 1970 2530
Sweat rate (ml !h
"1
) 1500 1360
Physiological demands of tennis 107
Downloaded by [Dr Marcelo S. Aoki] at 05:37 25 October 2011
by playing style, court surface, and even the ambient
conditions. In this study, blood lactate concentration
decreased during the fourth set in both players,
despite maintaining blood glucose concentration and
having elevated salivary cortisol at the end of the
match. The attenuation in blood lactate concentra-
tion coincided with shorter rallies but higher hear t
rates and RPE response in the fourth set, suggesting
a progressive increase in fatigue during the last sets
of a prolonged tennis match. It is not clear if this was
due to tactical changes during the match.
This is the first study to report blood glucose
responses in four-set tennis match-play. In agree-
ment with previous investigations of competitive
three-set match-play (Bergeron et al., 1991; Hornery
et al., 2007) and match simulations (Christmass,
Richmond, Cable, Arthur, & Hartmann, 1998;
Mitchell, Cole, Grandjean, & Sobczak, 1992), the
current investigation showed that hypoglycaemia
does not manifest during match-play. Participants
displayed relatively high post-match blood glucose
concentrations that are comparable to those in
studies of simulated tennis match-play over shorter
durations (Hornery et al., 2007). The elevated
salivary cortisol concentration at the end of the
match, in line with findings from soccer (Bangsbo,
1994; Haneishi et al., 2007), indicates that glyco-
genolysis may be activated to maintain the blood
glucose demands during prolonged, high-intensity
intermittent exercise.
The playersRPE, mean heart rate, and times in
high heart rates zones all increased as the match
progressed, showing increasing perceptual and phy-
siological stress. It is likely that the increased stress,
and in particular the increased effort perception,
contributed to the change in match notation data
(Marcora, Staiano, & Manning, 2009). Session RPE
has been shown to be a valid global indicator of
internal stress during prolonged, high-intensity in-
termittent exercise. (Foster et al., 2001; Impellizzeri,
Rampinini, Coutts, Sassi, & Marcora, 2004). Inter-
estingly, the higher session RPE score shown by
player 1 was associated with more pronounced chan-
ges in physiological markers (e.g. heart rate, cortisol
concentration, and dehydration status).
Conclusions
This case report is the first to describe the physio-
logical, perceptual, and time!motion responses to
four sets of tennis in elite professional players. The
results indicate that prolonged tennis match-play
is associated with increased fatigue and that these
elite players may adjust work rates or tactics to cope
with the increased perception of effort. Moreover,
it would appear that the greater stress associated
with longer tennis matches, as in the Grand Slam
events and Davis Cup, demands greater focus on
pre-, within-, and post-match recovery strategies
(Kraemer et al., 2000; Mitchell, Schiller, Miller, &
Dugas, 2001). We suggest that coaches should
encourage fluid and carbohydrate replenishment
and adopt recovery interventions (e.g. pre-cooling,
massage) that may alter perception of fatigue during
prolonged tennis matches.
Acknowledgements
Rodrigo V. Gomes would like to thank CAPES for
the scholarship. We also would like to thank the
CNPq (grant #563967/2008-0) for funding this
research.
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Physiological demands of tennis 109
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... Our results are relatively comparable to those of other studies in tennis (Gomes et al, 2015;Murphy et al, 2016;Coutts et al, 2010;Gomes et al, 2011) or on physical preparation (Lockie et al, 2012;Kilpatrick et al, 2015;Singh et al, 2007). They can therefore be used as a reference for planning training loads. ...
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The objective of this study was to quantify the training load involved in tennis training using relatively simple tools to provide practical information to coaches on the calculation and optimization of the training load, paying particular attention to the session-RPE method, the calculation of the monotony index and the acute to chronic workload ratio calculation. This article presents a case study of a 16-year-old player combining his education with his training in a tennis academy as well as with competition. The daily and weekly training load as well as the other indicators were calculated over 31 weeks and then explained, interpreted and discussed in this article.
... In order to register further data on match load, three heart rate zones were used for analysis. Using a heart rate monitor (Garmin HRM Dual Basic, Garmin, USA) and based on peak heart rate of the match (HR max ), zone 1 was determined as low-(<70% HR max) , zone 2, moderate-(75-85% HR max ) and zone 3, high-intensity-(>85 HR max ), following literature (Gomes et al., 2011). After the match, general fatigue sensation for all participants was measured following the 6 to 20 Borg rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale (Borg, 1982). ...
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Background Central and peripheric fatigue indicators are among the main reasons for performance decline following competition. Because of the impact of these factors on performance, how these variables are affected by match-play could be of interest, especially in young tennis players. Objective This study aimed to investigate alterations induced by a simulated tennis match on postural control and muscle characteristics in young tennis players. Method Seventeen male junior players took part in pre- and post-competition testing sessions performing postural control (displacement, speed and surface area of center of pressures) and muscle characteristics measurements (tone, stiffness, time to relaxation and elasticity). Between trials, participants played an 80-min simulated tennis match. Results No significant differences were observed in any of the tested variables. Moderate-to-large effect sizes (ES) for decreased stiffness and tone and greater time to relaxation were found between pre- and post-conditions in the right rectus abdominis (−9.8%, −4.4% and 7.8%; ES = 0.8, 0.54 and −0.85). Also, a decrease in tone was found in the right vastus medialis (−7.1%; ES = 0.56), while surface area of the center of pressures with eyes open showed trends towards increasing in post-match measurements (55.9%; ES = 0.56). Conclusion An 80-min simulated tennis match seems insufficient to elicit significant changes in postural control and mechanical muscle characteristics. Results suggest that physiological responses triggered by match-play were closer to those seen after a moderate activity than those present following a strenuous task.
... In the same vein, playing time on clay courts is higher than on hard courts with a lower exercise to rest ratio leading to higher mean HR (Murias et al, 2007). Moreover, the proportion of time spent in the moderate and higher heart rate zones by Elite players during a four-set match were increased following each set indicating increasing stress (Gomes et al, 2011). Thus, not surprisingly, playing style and surface are important factors which should be taken into consideration when designing training plans in order to meet the needs of the player. ...
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The main objective of this study was to analyse the relationship between players´ non-verbal body language and their performance in sport. The sample consists of a total of 477 actions from 40 players competing in the ATP Tour. All actions were taken from tiebreaks in official tournaments. The categories that were analyzed were previous performance, dominant non-verbal body language, submissive non-verbal body language, and performance later on. Results show how the players´ non verbal body language impacts on their performance later on. Thus, we can conclude that following dominant non-verbal body language, the probabilities of better performance in the next point are greater than following submissive non-verbal body language. Therefore, it is important to train these aspects as an extra tool to improve players´ performance
... In the same vein, playing time on clay courts is higher than on hard courts with a lower exercise to rest ratio leading to higher mean HR (Murias et al, 2007). Moreover, the proportion of time spent in the moderate and higher heart rate zones by Elite players during a four-set match were increased following each set indicating increasing stress (Gomes et al, 2011). Thus, not surprisingly, playing style and surface are important factors which should be taken into consideration when designing training plans in order to meet the needs of the player. ...
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Tennis is an intermittent sport involving different physical components, one of which is aerobic fitness. Scientific research has provided information about the physiological demands of tennis competition and some specific protocols have been developed to combine aerobic testing with technical efficiency testing and training. This paper will provide a rationale behind aerobic fitness training for tennis players.
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The present thesis is based on 14 original articles published in international journals (I-XIV, see page 8) and a summarizing review. The thesis deals with the physiological demands of soccer, with a particular focus on the physiological response to repeated intense exercise. In chapter I the specific issues are presented and in chapter II the physiological demands in soccer are discussed based on the results of the studies performed. Chapter III contains a short survey of the experiments performed to study specifically muscle metabolism and muscle fatigue with repeated intense muscle contractions. With reference to the topics covered in chapters II and III, fatigue during a soccer match is discussed in chapter IV, and chapter V deals with applications for physical training in soccer. Measurements have been performed during soccer matches and training, as well as in experiments simulating the activities of a soccer match. The information obtained has been compared to results from studies of the physical capacity of top-class soccer players and from laboratory experiments aimed at investigating metabolism and fatigue in intermittent exercise. Studies with whole-body and single muscle group exercises have been performed, the latter mainly with the application of a knee-extension model. In the studies on isolated muscle groups, biopsies taken from exercising muscles as well as arterial and femoral venous blood samples have allowed for detailed analysis of muscle ionic transportation and metabolism. In addition, the magnetic resonance technique has been used for the continuous determination of changes in muscle metabolites and pH during intermittent exercise. Analysis of activities during soccer matches showed that a top-class soccer player covers an average distance of approximately 11 km during a match. The distance differs highly between players and is partly related to the position in a team. Midfield players run more at low speed than defenders and forwards, whereas no difference appears to exist between groups when comparing the distance covered at high speed. The distance covered at high speed is the same in the beginning as in the end of a match. The total distance covered by a player during a soccer match is only to a limited extent a measure of the physiological demands on the player during the match. In addition to running, a player is engaged in many other energy demanding activities, i.e. tackling, jumping, accelerating and turning. A more precise evaluation of the total energy demand during a soccer match may be achieved by performing physiological measurements in connection with soccer matches (I). Based on measurements of variables such as heart rate and body temperature, the relative energy demand during a soccer match is estimated to be approximately 70% of maximal oxygen uptake. The aerobic energy production accounts for more than 90% of the total energy consumption. Although the anaerobic energy production is of minor quantitative importance, it does play an essential role during a soccer match. During an intense exercise period of a game both creatine phosphate (CP) and to a lesser extent the stored adenosine triphosphate (ATP) are utilized. Both variables are partly restored during a subsequent rest period. In blood samples taken after top-class soccer matches the lactate concentration averages 3-8 mmol·l-1 (I), and individual determinations often exceed 10 mmol·l-1 during match-play. The latter values indicate that lactate production can be very high during periods of a match. Glycogen in the working muscle seems to be the most important substrate for the energy production during a soccer match. However, muscle triglycerides, blood free fatty acids and glucose are also used as substrates for the oxidative metabolism of the muscles.
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The fluid needs of tennis players competing in hot environments have not been examined; thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a carbohydrate (CHO) drink on performance, and on fluid balance and tolerance, during prolonged tennis play. Twelve competitive players completed two, three-hour tennis matches during which they ingested 11.4 ml•kg•h-1(200 ml•15 min-1) of either a 7.5 g CHO•100 ml-1drink (CHO) or a water placebo (WP). Before and after each match, severe velocity (SV) and a 183-meter shuttle run (SR) were completed as performance tests. Blood samples were taken after 15 minutes of rest before and after each trial and at 60 and 120 minutes during the trials, and were analyzed for percent change in plasma volume (PV) and blood glucose (BG). Weight (BW) was measured before and after each trial. Heart rates (HR), ratings of stomach fullness (RF, scale of 1-5), serve percentage and unforced errors were monitored throughout the matches. Environmental conditions were measured using the WBGT index, which was 26.70 and 26.65 degrees in the WP and CHO conditions, respectively. The mean differences in pre- versus post-(Δ) and three- hour means (± SD) are shown below. © 1992 Journal of Applied Sport Science Research. All rights reserved.
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The effects of 2 days of Big Ten National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 tennis match play were studied in 7 women. The unique design of this study was the first to use an actual collegiate match-play situation incorporating all of the actual stresses involved in the multidimensional game of tennis. Physical strength, power, and several physiological measures were evaluated in an attempt to identify specific variables created by the demands of actual play that may not recover from fatigue. The test battery included determination of peak ball velocity in the serve, peak torque of both internal and external shoulder rotation, maximal grip strength, vertical jumps on the force plate, and salivary cortisol concentrations. Prior to the study, baseline measures for the test battery were established with reliabilities of intraclass correlation coefficients of R ≥ 0.95. Each performance variable sufficiently recovered after 24 hours; no significant differences were observed between baseline and the test session 24 hours postmatch. Significant (p < 0.05) correlations were observed between force variables of the dominant playing arm and the performance variable of serve velocity (r = 0.75-0.82). It appears that a 24-hour recovery period will allow a majority of a tennis player's neuromuscular performance characteristics to recover from successive days of collegiate match-play competition; however, mental and physical perceptions of fatigue may still exist.
The present thesis is based on 14 original articles published in international journals (I-XIV, see page 8) and a summarizing review. The thesis deals with the physiological demands of soccer, with a particular focus on the physiological response to repeated intense exercise. In chapter I the specific issues are presented and in chapter II the physiological demands in soccer are discussed based on the results of the studies performed. Chapter III contains a short survey of the experiments performed to study specifically muscle metabolism and muscle fatigue with repeated intense muscle contractions. With reference to the topics covered in chapters II and III, fatigue during a soccer match is discussed in chapter IV, and chapter V deals with applications for physical training in soccer. Measurements have been performed during soccer matches and training, as well as in experiments simulating the activities of a soccer match. The information obtained has been compared to results from studies of the physical capacity of top-class soccer players and from laboratory experiments aimed at investigating metabolism and fatigue in intermittent exercise. Studies with whole-body and single muscle group exercises have been performed, the latter mainly with the application of a knee-extension model. In the studies on isolated muscle groups, biopsies taken from exercising muscles as well as arterial and femoral venous blood samples have allowed for detailed analysis of muscle ionic transportation and metabolism. In addition, the magnetic resonance technique has been used for the continuous determination of changes in muscle metabolites and pH during intermittent exercise. Analysis of activities during soccer matches showed that a top-class soccer player covers an average distance of approximately 11 km during a match. The distance differs highly between players and is partly related to the position in a team. Midfield players run more at low speed than defenders and forwards, whereas no difference appears to exist between groups when comparing the distance covered at high speed. The distance covered at high speed is the same in the beginning as in the end of a match. The total distance covered by a player during a soccer match is only to a limited extent a measure of the physiological demands on the player during the match. In addition to running, a player is engaged in many other energy demanding activities, i.e. tackling, jumping, accelerating and turning. A more precise evaluation of the total energy demand during a soccer match may be achieved by performing physiological measurements in connection with soccer matches (I).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)