Low compression tennis balls and skill development
Hammond, J & Smith, C 2006, 'Low compression tennis balls and skill development', Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 575-581.
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Coaching aims to improve player performance and coaches have a number of coaching methods and strategies they use to enhance this process. If new methods and ideas can be determined to improve player performance they will change coaching practices and processes. This study investigated the effects of using low compression balls (LCBs) during coaching sessions with beginning tennis players. In order to assess the effectiveness of LCBs on skill learning the study employed a quasi-experimental design supported by qualitative and descriptive data. Beginner tennis players took part in coaching sessions, one group using the LCBs while the other group used standard tennis balls. Both groups were administered a skills at the beginning of a series of coaching sessions and again at the end. A statistical investigation of the difference between pre and post-test results was carried out to determine the effect of LCBs on skill learning. Additional qualitative data was obtained through interviews, video capture and the use of performance analysis of typical coaching sessions for each group. The skill test results indicated no difference in skill learning when comparing beginners using the LCBs to those using the standard balls. Coaches reported that the LCBs appeared to have a positive effect on technique development, including aspects of technique that are related to improving power of the shot. Additional benefits were that rallies went on longer and more opportunity for positive reinforcement. In order to provide a more conclusive answer to the effects of LCBs on skill learning and technique development recommendations for future research were established including a more controlled experimental environment and larger sample sizes across a longer period of time. Key PointsLCB may aid skill learning in tennis.Qualitative indicators.Statistical evidence not conclusive.Further studies of larger groups recommended.