Stroke Biomechanics Section – An Introduction

The Situation

As a developing tennis player or parent you are exposed to a dizzying array of information about what stroke technique should look like. Your coach has an opinion and there is no shortage of speculation in books, on web sites, in videos and in “chat” rooms. But have you ever wondered on what basis this information is offered?

I have always found this to be a very perplexing question. While extensive variability exists in opinions about technique (and application to different demographics) there do seem to be several foundational beliefs that form the basis of the various technique theories. Most of these made no sense logically in my youth, functionally as a coach, or mechanically as a sport scientist. So where do these beliefs come from?

Information Sources

I think it is fair to identify five general sources of information that form the basis of instruction in tennis. Of course these are not mutually exclusive and information derived from one source is almost certainly based in part on information from the other sources, more or less:

  • Concepts passed down through the generations.
  • Theories put forth by well-known coaches and other “experts”.
  • Philosophies supported by coaching education and certification entities.
  • Interpretation of technique used by high-level players.
  • Academic research focussing on tennis sport science.

Enough is Enough

It is time to critically analyze widely implemented and publicized concepts in tennis stroke mechanics. The articles in this section will take a close look at these concepts by applying a sport science filter to determine which concepts make scientific sense and which are science fiction. I believe this section of the blog will be important to some and interesting to many. One thing is certain though – it will no doubt be very controversial. Enjoy, Brian.