Establishing percentiles for junior tennis players based on physical fitness testing results

Clin Sports Med. 1995 Jan;14(1):1-21.


An important aspect of this study was the establishment of a data base. A broad data base allows for data on certain parameters to be greatly expanded and will also enhance the use and interpretation of statistical methods. A longitudinal study of these variables may also assist in monitoring the players' progress over a period of time, and can provide a useful supplement to subjective coaching appraisals. The means and standard deviation for each test were calculated according to the USTA age and gender groups, that is, 12s, 14s, and 16s for each separate gender. Additionally, the mean and standard deviations for the ages, heights, and weights of each grouping were also calculated. Once the means and standard deviations were calculated, percentile tables were developed for each of the USTA groupings (by age and gender). The percentiles for each USTA test are presented in Appendix 1. A percentile is defined as the point on the distribution below which a given percentage of the scores is found. Percentiles can provide a norm-referenced interpretation of an individual score within a distribution that often consists of scores from a comparable group of individuals. Using the USTA protocol, players and coaches now have a set of normative data by which individual player's fitness scores may be compared with participants of the USTA Area Training Centers (See appendix 1). From the test results, coaches and players can determine which fitness areas need to be improved for athletes on an individual basis. Specific training programs can then be designed based on an athlete's fitness testing results. Proper interpretation of the USTA fitness testing data base results can lead to an easy way to determine the relative position of a given fitness score in the distribution, recognizing weaker areas for the purpose of injury prevention and performance enhancement. Each player can be given a profile detailing their percentile rank relative to other area training center participants in their age group. Results of these fitness scores can prove to be of great assistance to coaches in designing proper training programs and may also give physicians some indication which weaknesses may potentially lead to injury. The sample player shown in Figure 1 and Table 2 is a right-handed female player ranked in the 12-years-old-and-under division. Her results clearly indicate very high scores in the agility and speed categories; however, her scores in the strength and power areas were significantly lower than other area training center participants in her age group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Tennis / physiology*