Evaluation of Movement Patterns in Competition to Optimise the Training Process in Elite Tennis Training Using GPS Technology
The objective of this study was to describe the profile of the physical demands and movement patterns required in competition among players in the training categories of tennis through the use of GPS technology. To do so, young tennis players from the Aragonese Tennis Federation in the novice, children, cadet and junior categories were enlisted, with a mean age of 14.1 ± 2.2 years old. A total of 217 records were monitored, with competition matches played on fast courts and clay courts as well as training sessions. The recording was done thanks to the use of GPS MinimaxX Team Sports 4.0 devices (Catapult Innovation, Australia) with a sampling frequency of 10 Hz. A descriptive statistical analysis was conducted of the following independent variables: surface, type of competition, category, ranking and gender. On the other hand, the dependent variables analysed were grouped into two dimensions: speed and acceleration. With regard to the speed dimension, the mean and maximum speed were analysed, along with the total distance run and the distance run per time unit, as well as the distance run in different speed brackets. The variables related to the acceleration dimension were distance run accelerating, effort made accelerating per time unit, estimated distance and a player load indicator. The results revealed that the data referring to the acceleration dimension were more significant due to the characteristics of the sport, in which the court size prevented the tennis players from reaching high speeds and the intermittent nature of tennis better fits the accelerations made by the tennis players. GPS technology applied to tennis allows for more detailed, accurate information on the demands and characteristics of training-level tennis, and therefore increases knowledge in the sphere of sports training appropriate for these ages. Thus, thanks to this information, specific training tasks can be designed similar to competition, which entails an improvement in tennis players’ performance.