The effect of ball impact location on racket and forearm joint angle changes for one-handed tennis backhand groundstrokes

2016-07-26T15:38:04Z (GMT) by Mark A. King A. Hau Glen M. Blenkinsop
Recreational tennis players tend to have higher incidence of tennis elbow, and this has been hypothesised to be related to one-handed backhand technique and off-centre ball impacts on the racket face. This study aimed to investigate for a range of participants the effect of off-longitudinal axis and off-lateral axis ball-racket impact locations on racket and forearm joint angle changes immediately following impact in one-handed tennis backhand groundstrokes. Three-dimensional racket and wrist angular kinematic data were recorded for fourteen university tennis players each performing thirty ‘flat’ one-handed backhand groundstrokes. Off-longitudinal axis ball-racket impact locations explained over 70% of the variation in racket rotation about the longitudinal axis and wrist flexion / extension angles during the 30 ms immediately following impact. Off-lateral axis ball-racket impact locations had a less clear cut influence on racket and forearm rotations. Specifically off-longitudinal impacts below the longitudinal axis forced the wrist into flexion for all participants with there being between 11º and 32º of forced wrist flexion for an off-longitudinal axis impact that was one ball diameter away from the mid-line. This study has confirmed that off-longitudinal impacts below the longitudinal axis contribute to forced wrist flexion and eccentric stretch of the wrist extensors and there can be large differences in the amount of forced wrist flexion from individual to individual and between strokes with different impact locations.