Comparison of ball-and-racquet impact force between two tennis backhand stroke techniqes

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2001 May;31(5):247-54. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2001.31.5.247.


Study design: A mixed design for kinetic comparison of 2 types of one-handed backhand strokes and 2 skill levels in tennis.

Objectives: To develop and evaluate a model to estimate the impact force on the racquet during tennis stroke, and to compare the peak impact force between one-handed backhand stroke with a long backswing and one-handed backhand stroke with a short backswing and between the beginning and advanced players.

Background: A one-handed backhand stroke is commonly used in tennis and may be associated with many upper extremity over-use injuries. An understanding of kinetics of the backhand stroke is essential for understanding injury mechanisms and prevention.

Methods and measures: Five male advanced tennis players and 4 male and 1 female beginning tennis players participated. Mean age was 32.2 +/- 7.0 years. Each subject was instructed to use the 2 types of one-handed backhand strokes to hit balls from a tennis ball machine. Three-dimensional coordinates of critical body and racquet landmarks were obtained. A mathematical model was developed to estimate the contact duration and the peak impact force during a stroke.

Results: The estimated peak impact forces were reproducible and comparable to those reported in the literature from direct measurements. A one-handed backhand stroke with a short backswing had a significantly shorter contact duration (0.008 +/- 0.003 seconds) and a greater peak resultant impact force (330.0 +/- 140.7) than that with a long backswing (0.016 +/- 0.004 seconds and 180.8 +/- 49.1 N). Skill level did not significantly affect the peak resultant impact force.

Conclusion: A long backswing in a one-handed backhand stroke may reduce the load on the upper extremity and may assist in reducing the risks of tennis-related upper extremity over-use injuries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Racquet Sports / injuries*
  • Reference Values
  • Tennis / injuries*