Tennis ball diameter: the effect on performance and the concurrent physiological responses

J Sports Sci. 2005 Jan;23(1):31-9. doi: 10.1080/02640410410001730052.


The aim of this study was to examine the influence of a pressurized tennis ball 6% greater in diameter (Type 3) than a standard sized (Type 2) ball on performance and the physiological responses to the Loughborough Intermittent Tennis Test (LITT) (Davey et al., 2002). Eight competitive tennis players (males, n = 4, age 24.8+/-3.5 years, body mass 81.3+/-3.1 kg, height 1.74+/-0.02 m, estimated VO2max 54.4+/-2.6 ml x kg(-1) min(-1); females, n = 4, age 26.3+/-3.1 years, body mass 67.0+/-6.7 kg, height 1.68 + 0.02 m, estimated VO2max 49.9+/-3.3 ml kg(-1) min(-1); mean+/-s(x)) completed two main trials of the LITT with either the Type 2 or Type 3 tennis balls to the point of volitional fatigue. The mean time to volitional fatigue was 29.5% greater during the Type 3 trials than during the Type 2 trials (56.9+/-6.4 min vs 40.1+/-3.7 min; P < 0.05). The mean percentage accuracy and mean percentage consistency recorded for the entire LITT were greater for the Type 3 than the Type 2 trials (9.2+/-1.5 vs 4.0+/-0.3% and 61.1+/-0.6 vs 51.3+/-0.6%, respectively; P < 0.01). A significantly lower mean heart rate and blood lactate concentration were observed during the Type 3 than during the Type 2 trials. There was a clear effect of ball diameter on tennis performance and certain physiological responses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Tennis / physiology*