The aim of this study was to present kinematics of trunk and upper extremities in tennis players who perform one-handed and two-handed backhand strokes. The study aimed to address the question of whether one of those techniques has some important advantage over the other. If so, what makes it superior?
The study included 10 tennis coaches with average coaching experience of 9 years. The coaches were asked to hit 15 one-handed and two-handed backhands. The tests were carried out in a laboratory. A sponge ball was used in order to protect the measurement equipment. Video motion analysis was carried out using BTS SMART system; images were recorded with 6 cameras with a rate of 120 frames per second. The analysis of both backhand strokes focused on the second phase of the stroke (acceleration).
The use of an eight-element model of human body for description of upper body motion in both techniques revealed kinematic differences in how both backhands are performed. The two-handed backhand was performed in closed kinetic chain with 8 degrees of freedom, whereas the one-handed backhand involved an open kinetic chain with 7 degrees of freedom. Higher rigidity of upper extremities which are connected with trunk in the two-handed backhand, contributes to an elevated trunk effect in this stroke. This is confirmed by higher component velocities for racket handle, which result from trunk rotation in the two-handed backhand and a negative separation angle in the two-handed backhand at the moment of contact of the racket with the ball.
The study does not provide a clear-cut answer to the question of advantages of one technique over the other; however, it reveals dissimilar patterns of driving the racket in both techniques, which suggests the need for extending the analysis of techniques of both backhands with additional kinematics of tennis racket in consideration of measurements of ball velocities.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.