Biomechanics References on Tennis Strokes

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Chas Tennis, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    I recently found some references mostly by tennis biomechanics researcher Bruce Elliott and associates. I found them very interesting.

    If you have some similar references please reply.

    1) Two minute interview with Bruce Elliott on biomechanics, tennis, and coaching. Refers to the book

    Technique Development in Tennis Stroke Production(2009), B. Elliott, M. Reid & M. Crespo

    Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. all list it as ‘out of stock’. No wonder I had not heard of this 2009 biomechanics book on tennis stroke techniques. I found it for sale at the ITF Store. $20.

    2) Paper - Biomechanics and Tennis, Elliott (internal shoulder rotation on the serve)

    3) An Australian tennis website includes video discussions-

    Instructional videos from a coach development workshop including 2 part Bruce Elliott & M. Reid video on the forehand. The first part is 56 minutes long and the first minutes are about foot work. Most stroke swing information starts at about 30 minutes.

    (Note at the top of the webpage is a code to view the videos.)

    4) ITF paper on coaching the serve

    bad link

    5) Paper on the serve - Where do High Speed Tennis Serves come from? G. Noffal

    6) Early 1995 paper on the serve and internal shoulder rotation - Contributions of Upper Limb Segment Rotations During the Power Serve in Tennis, B. Elliott et al.

    7) Paper - A Review of Tennis Serve Biomechanics, M. Seeley

    8.) Biomechanical Principles of Tennis Technique, D. Knudson. Includes several insightful discussions.

    9) ITF Biomechanics Stroke Power Point presentations, 2007

    10) Paper - The Use of Technology in Tennis Biomechanics Research

    11) Available ITF Publications

    12) Paper - Shoulder joint loading in the high performance flat and kick tennis serves.(2007) Reid M, Elliott B, Alderson J.

    13) Elastic Energy in Tennis -presentation B. Elliott

    14) Paper - Key Factors and Timing Patterns in the Tennis Forehand of Different Skill Levels
    Johannes Landlinger, Stefan Lindinger, Thomas Stöggl, Herbert Wagner and Erich Müller . Timing diagrams of joint angular velocities before & after impact.

    15) ITF Introducing Biomechanics (added 12/2/13)

    16) When viewing abstracts of many publications may be available free. To view the free paper look for an icon in the upper right side of the webpage with the abstract. Usually indicates 'view free text' somewhere but that phrase is not a link. For example, show abstract and link for paper #12.

    Free full NCBI research papers on biomechanical and medical subjects. PMC = free full publications

    (I thought that an ISBS biomechanics conference in July 2012 was to have a session on tennis and a special ITF tennis publication. But just learned that there’s no special session on tennis and, I guess ?, no special issue on the latest tennis research.)
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
  2. connico

    connico Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Fantastic post, I went to one of these conferences a few years back. Was educational!
  3. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Just received reference Technique Development in Tennis Stroke Production

    This afternoon I received the IFT book Technique Development in Tennis Stroke Production(2009), B. Elliott, M. Reid and M. Crespo

    Suppliers Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. all list it as ‘out of stock’. No wonder I had not heard of this 2009 biomechanics book on tennis stroke techniques. I found it for sale at the ITF Store. $20 + $8 shipping. (ITF, get some book retailers!)

    Chapter titles:

    1 Talent Development: A Progressive Approach
    2 Biomechanical and Anatomical Principles
    3 'Heaviness' in Stroke Production
    4 Variability an Integral Feature of Stroke Development
    5 Service Mechanics
    6 Forehand Mechanics (including return of serve)
    7 Backhand Mechanics
    8 Net Play Mechanics
    9 Contemporary Coaching of Technique

    Includes a section identifying the joint motions. Very readable. Overall and detailed perspectives. Extensive references for each chapter.

    Best tennis book I've seen, a great reference book!
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  4. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Biomechanics Course

    "The goal of BME 473 is to teach the fundamental concepts of movement biomechanics with an emphasis on how muscles produce movement."

    The interesting question for tennis is - How are the fastest muscle shortening velocities produced?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
  5. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Titin - Some new research on muscle stretch.

    I may have misunderstood this picture of new research related to the stretch-shortening cycle on the microscopic scale.

    The Hill Muscle Model shows the functional components of a muscle on the smallest scale. It provides a way to visualize what is going on and to think about how active muscle components (actin & myosin) and passive muscle stretch component (recently also the Titin protein molecule) might function.

    Recently, new research has emphasized the role played by passive Titin, the largest protein molecule, also located within the sacomere in parallel with the active Actin and Myosin structures. Recently it has been considered that Titin in each muscle cell provides the main stretch capability of the muscle. An older theory views stretch as an overall muscle stretch to include tendons.

    Actin, Myosin Animation (no Titin) - Active Muscle Shortening

    Sarcomere with Titin Illustrations

    Actin, Myosin & Titin Illustrations

    Report on Stretch Shortening Training with Biopsied Human Muscle Measurements. Added 2/5/2013

    Powerpoint presentation Stretch Shortening Cycle including Titin. Added 2/5/2013,d.dmQ

    New research on Titin

    This report in Figure 7 proposes a new way that Titin might be interacting with Actin to provide stretch functions.

    I don't understand this last research but maybe it implies that a stretch can be deliberately activated at various lengths of the muscle.

    This new research might be especially important along with other research that indicates muscle shortening might be faster if 'passive' stretch is employed instead of active muscle shortening. (the Actin -Myosin animation above even looks slow).

    In Biomechanics of Advanced Tennis (2003). Elliott said

    "10-20% of additional racket head speed is achieved following a stretch shortening cycle."

    (This publication is now 10 years old so there may be different views in 2013.)

    Is that a simple addition to racket head speed or is passive stretch derived muscle shortening the only mode that can shorten that fast with control and reproducibility? Main principle of athletic movement?

    See also

    Added 10/8/2014
    Titin-based contribution to shortening velocity of rabbit skeletal myofibrils

    Added 4/7/2015
    University of Manchester (2010) Proc Physiol Soc 19, SA12

    Research Symposium
    History dependence of muscle force production: structural non-uniformities, cross-bridge action or something altogether different?

    W. Herzog1

    1. Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
    Medline articles by:

    Herzog, W

    Figure 1: Mean (

    When a muscle is actively stretched (shortened) its steady-state force following the stretch (shortening) is increased (decreased) relative to the purely isometric force at the same length. This history dependence of muscle force production was first described systematically more than half a century ago (1), but cannot be explained by the reigning paradigm of muscle contraction: the cross-bridge theory (2, 3). For the past three decades, history dependence had been explained with structural non-uniformities; specifically the development of sarcomere length non-uniformities when muscles were stretched (shortened) actively on the “unstable” descending limb of the force-length relationship (4, 5). The sarcomere length non-uniformity theory allowed for precise predictions, including that force enhancement following an active stretch cannot occur on the ascending part of the force-length relationship and that the enhanced forces can never exceed the maximal isometric forces at obtained on the plateau of the force-length relationship. However, these two basic predictions were shown to be not satisfied in a series of experiments from different laboratories (e.g. 1, 6). Recently, we discovered that passive forces following an active stretch of muscles, fibres and myofibrils were increased (7). When eliminating titin from isolated myofibril preparations, this passive force enhancement was abolished indicating that titin might play a force regulatory role. Stretching troponin C depleted myofibrils (to inhibit cross-bridge connections between the contractile proteins actin and myosin) in solutions of increasing calcium concentration resulted in an increase in passive forces, suggesting that titin is a molecular spring whose stiffness can be modulated by calcium (e.g., 7). Unfortunately, the increase in force associated with titin’s calcium sensitivity only accounted for a few percent of the observed increases in passive force with active muscle stretching. When stretching single myofibrils passively (low calcium concentration) and actively (high calcium concentration) beyond actin-myosin filament overlap, forces in the actively stretched condition were 3-4 times greater at lengths where cross-bridge forces were absent, and these differences reached values approximately 2-3 times the maximum active isometric force at the plateau of the force-length relationship. How can such high forces be explained in the absence of actin-myosin based cross-bridges forces? When eliminating titin, these force difference are abolished. Calcium activation alone (when cross-bridge attachments are inhibited) merely accounts for a tiny amount of the observed force increases. However, when myofibrils are actively stretched from different parts of the descending limb of the force-length relationship, and thus from different force levels, the increase in force beyond actin-myosin filament overlap is proportional to that force (Figure 1). From these results we conclude that titin is a strong regulator of force in skeletal muscle and becomes particularly important at long sarcomere lengths. Titin’s force regulation depends on the amount of active force, but is essentially independent of calcium concentration. We tentatively suggest that titin’s force regulation is caused by a force-dependent interaction of titin with actin which causes the free spring length of titin to become smaller thereby increasing its stiffness, and thus force upon stretching.

    Added 4/10/2015

    Titin force is enhanced in actively stretched skeletal muscle

    Krysta Powers, Gudrun Schappacher-Tilp, Azim Jinha, Tim Leonard, Kiisa Nishikawa, Walter Herzog

    Journal of Experimental Biology (Impact Factor: 3). 08/2014; 217(20). DOI: 10.1242/jeb.105361
    Source: PubMed

    ABSTRACT The sliding filament theory of muscle contraction is widely accepted as the means by which muscles generate force during activation. Within the constraints of this theory, isometric, steady-state force produced during muscle activation is proportional to the amount of filament overlap. Previous studies from our laboratory demonstrated enhanced titin-based force in myofibrils that were actively stretched to lengths which exceeded filament overlap. This observation cannot be explained by the sliding filament theory. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the enhanced state of titin during active stretch. Specifically, we confirm that this enhanced state of force is observed in a mouse model and quantify the contribution of calcium to this force. Titin-based force was increased by up to four times that of passive force during active stretch of isolated myofibrils. Enhanced titin-based force has now been demonstrated in two distinct animal models, suggesting that modulation of titin-based force during active stretch is an inherent property of skeletal muscle. Our results also demonstrated that 15% of titin's enhanced state can be attributed to direct calcium effects on the protein, presumably a stiffening of the protein upon calcium binding to the E-rich region of the PEVK segment and selected Ig domain segments. We suggest that the remaining unexplained 85% of this extra force results from titin binding to the thin filament. With this enhanced force confirmed in the mouse model, future studies will aim to elucidate the proposed titin-thin filament interaction in actively stretched sarcomeres.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2015
  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  7. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    National Center for Biotechnolgy Information

    National Center for Biotechnolgy Information (NCBI)

    NCBI data bases under “Literature”

    Sample search NCBI database for “biomechanics tennis”- See "PubMed" abstracts and "PubMed Central" for full free publications.

    Full text free publications- search

    Full text free publications related to tennis -

    Figures from tennis publications with links to the publications.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  8. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

    Jan 7, 2013
    I was lucky to have Bruce Elliott as my lecturer at The University of Western Australia for my undergrad degree
  9. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Jul 9, 2013
    Gotham City
    Damn that's a massive OP ... Will check back later.
  10. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Researchgate - Bruce Elliott et Al Publications

    Bruce Elliott publications available on Researchgate.

    1) "Ball spin in the tennis serve: spin rate and axis of rotation." Shinji Sakurai, Machar Reid, Bruce Elliott

    2) "A kinematic comparison of successful and unsuccessful tennis serves across the elite development pathway."
    David Whiteside, Bruce Elliott, Brendan Lay and Machar Reid

    Download of report,d.cGU

    See Figure 4.

    "5. Conclusions

    Players of all ages appear to prepare their bodies and generate racquet velocity similarly in both
    successful and unsuccessful serves. The similarity in discrete body kinematics suggests that service
    faults cannot be attributed to a single source of mechanical error. However, service faults are characterized
    by projection angles significantly further below the horizontal, suggesting that this parameter
    is a determinant of serve outcome. Similar to other dexterous skills, compensatory variability in the
    distal (elbow and wrist) joints immediately prior to impact appears critical to the regulation of projection
    angle, as it allows players to adjust to the variable impact location. Given that the impact location
    cannot be predetermined, perceptual feedback may play an important role in the compensation
    process. For this reason, coordination of the distal degrees of freedom and a refined perception-action
    coupling appear more important to success than any single kinematic component of the service action.
    With this in mind, the development of a highly adaptable movement system may be more beneficial to
    improving serve performance than traditional approaches that decompose and accentuate consistency
    in the service action. Explicitly, coaches may command varying service performance (speed, spin, location),
    scale the court dimensions, or administer stochastic perturbations of the ball toss early in development
    to foster the mechanical and/or perceptual proficiency required in the tennis serve."

    3) "Long-axis rotation: the missing link in proximal-to-distal segmental sequencing." R. N. Marshall and B. C. Elliott

    One of the most informative graphs on the tennis serve showing contributions from various joint motions and their timing. Compare internal shoulder rotation and pronation on Figure 1.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  11. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    FYI - Biomechanical analysis of baseball pitching.

    The study of baseball pitching is useful for understanding the tennis serve because the available research for baseball is considerable. Many of the same muscle stretches and joint motions, particularly the stretch shorten cycle for external shoulder rotation (ESR) and internal shoulder rotation (ISR), are used for both motions. This stretch shorten cycle makes use of the largest muscles attached to the arm, the lat and pec.

    (Terms - In many countries, internal shoulder rotation is called medial shoulder rotation.)

    Baseball pitch showing internal shoulder rotation.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  12. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

    Dec 20, 2006
    See a paper by Elliot and Reid about backhand 2002
    See the title from my thread about modern trends
    Pl see the Stanford web site as well

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