How does a 5 set marathon compare to other sports in physical/mental fatigue?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by wy2sl0, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. wy2sl0

    wy2sl0 Hall of Fame

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    I watch a good amount of sports. I will name some easy ones just so we can get them out of the way:

    Sports That Don't Match

    Hockey (played half my life) - Would have to be multiple overtimes in a playoff series to have the same amount of fatigue, and also be a top player with many minutes of ice time.

    Soccer - Haven't played at a high level, but I would say it is not on par.

    Football - No chance. 1 game a week for 60 minutes.

    Baseball - Tough to say. Very underrated considering 150+ game schedule. If you are a top pitcher and your team goes deep every year you would definitely be fatigued. Otherwise, definitely not.

    Golf - No.

    Sports That Match or Exceed

    Squash - High level, long match.

    Biking - Any long distance race is extremely fatiguing.

    Running - Same as above.

    Racing - 24 Hours Le Mans etc. Ridiculously tough on the nervous system. Anyone who says this is a joke has never raced at a high level. Pretty much the most nerve-racking thing you can do is travel from 0-150-0-150-.....for hours.


    Please feel free to add your own, or dispute mine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
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  2. bullfan

    bullfan Legend

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    You have to remember there is both time between points as well as changeovers. Even more time during clay sets. I wonder what the stats are for actual play, discounting changeovers and time between points.

    I don't see those stats put up.
     
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  3. wy2sl0

    wy2sl0 Hall of Fame

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    Depends who is playing. The 25 second rule this year was instituted, and Nadal and Djoker still went 5 hours didn't they? Federer/Roddick 09 Wimby? They played at lightning speed and still took 4+ hours. If you watch some of the points from the Top 4 in a tournament final you will see they are at an amazingly high level for a long period of time. Most athletes do not have to start and stop, move side to side without getting a good stride going. It is very hard on the body and the joints.
     
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  4. psYcon

    psYcon Semi-Pro

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    another sport you forgot is Badminton. Extremely ruthless on your glutes and thighs.

    I would rate the following in terms of tiring:

    1) Badminton
    2) Squash
    3) Tennis
     
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  5. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Golf is a sport?

    Then what about darts, pool, snooker, chess, checkers, go, croquet, bowling etc?
     
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  6. bullfan

    bullfan Legend

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    Well they do in soccer. I do understand the running in tennis, but my point stands, how much time are they actually playing tennis?
     
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  7. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Disagree

    It should be
    1. Tennis
    2. Badmintion
    3. Squash
     
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  8. Nitish

    Nitish Professional

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    I dont think Badminton is more tiring than tennis.It is relatively of shorter duration as well.I have played all three sports(Tennis at a higher level than the other two)and i think Squash is the most tiring.


    In terms of calories burnt per hour(Assuming a body weight of 70 Kg)
    Squash=800-850
    Tennis= 550-600
    Badminton=450-500

    Tennis and Badminton are close but on average a tennis match lasts longer than a Badminton match so you end up burning more calories playing tennis.

    Found a link but it doesn't specify any body weight
    http://tenniscrowd.com/blog/2013/01/04/calories-burned-by-different-sports/
     
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  9. CRWV

    CRWV Rookie

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    Wrestling

    I can play 30 mins or so before I need a sit down (out of shape)

    5 minutes of wrestling and I'm drained completely.

    in terms of time, 10 minutes of full out rallying is comparable to 1-2 minutes of wrestling.

    (by wrestling I mean any form of grappling, like no-gi, bjj, judo, olympic styles, etc.,.)
     
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  10. Nitish

    Nitish Professional

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    I completely agree with this but the OP is about a five set marathon match,I dont think a wrestling match can last over 10-12 minutes so in terms of a tennis match its about 120 minutes.And a normal five setter is about 4 hrs so a five setter takes a lot out of you than a wrestling match.
     
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  11. merwy

    merwy Hall of Fame

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    I disagree with you saying soccer is not as physically tiring as tennis. I've played tennis my whole life and i started playing soccer matches since 2 years ago and i was completely out of breath after 20 minutes. It's really 90 minutes of non stop jogging alternated with sprints. In tennis you have the time in between points where youre not doing anything and it's not like youre sprinting non stop during the points either. Professional soccer players focus so ridiculously much on their fitness and still have to get swapped after 60 minutes sometimes.

    I do think tennis may be (one of) the most mentally tiring games
     
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  12. namelessone

    namelessone Legend

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    Seconded.

    I try to play tennis once or twice every week with a reasonably good partner and when we play five sets, even though tiring, you always feel that you can give a bit more(though serving becomes a real b!tch later on).

    Before going further I should point out that I am asthmatic. It's manageable with a inhaler put I still feel like I get spent way too quickly when playing football(even though I'm not exactly a newcomer to the sport). As you say, it's basically a series of sprints with a bit of lull in between but even then there are very few moments when you are sitting still.

    In tennis, you have those 20 secs after each ball when you can re-compose yourself and it makes all the difference. I only have trouble with my asthma while playing tennis when the weather gets colder but put me in a midfield position in football and I swear that I am done in 20-30 minutes. That's why I almost always play goalie.
     
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  13. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Australian Rules Football >>>>> tennis. Continuous running/sprinting, tackling and body contact. Not like that pansy NFL crap.
    Soccer is also very physically demanding. More than tennis.
    Boxing and wrestling are very demanding.

    To be honest, tennis isnt that great a work out. Too many rest periods. In fact its way down on the list of physically exerting sports.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
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  14. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Not in a million years. Squash matches are insanely intense but rarely ever last longer than 90 minutes. Squash is also childs-play mentally compared to tennis. I played both tennis and squash competitively for many years and the mental fatigue in squash is very low compared to tennis. This is mainly (I think) because tactically there are far fewer options and because it's so easy to keep the ball in play (easier than it is to hit it out in fact) that being in a poor patch of form doesn't weigh on you so much or affect the majority of good players like it does in tennis where a small lull in concentration usually spells disaster.

    Both are down the extremely low end of mental fatigue other than requiring a determination to continue and push through any pain barrier - which comes quite naturally to those who compete at a high level. Neither have any complex strategy element to them and can both be done in large parts on virtually autopilot mentally.

    In physical fatigue cycling has a claim to being one of the brute sports but not so much for running. Long distance runners is further down the overall physical limits ranking.

    Similarly, neither has the scope for mental surprises or to throw curve balls at you the way a more multifaceted sport like tennis does. That makes them mentally a great deal easier to maintain a certain level at.
    24 hr Le Mans drivers generally drive for about two hours at a time and in generally quite open racing circumstances (i.e. they're not in close formation for most of the time, unlike Nascar or F1 type events where the element of other cars near you is far more continuous). I would put it high on the list mentally for motorsports but guys who drive racing cars are a lot more relaxed than you think - it is actually the only way to manage the volume and speed of the stimulus/inputs that barrage drivers and still be able to drive consistently fast. What they do would be nerve-racking for the average joe but it's not the same for drivers. The physical toll on an racers is moderately high but nothing amazing, more heat and noise exhaustion - but not comparable to a 5 set tennis match or cycling for 5 hours.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
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  15. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Mmmmm. Those guys are good athletes but team sports generally cannot come close to comparing mentally - and Aussie rules in particular is not known for having complex strategies or moments where a clutch win/lose play is enough to sink the whole thing.

    Similarly, they have tons of rest periods and at least half the time they are moving at moderate/low levels of intensity. Additionally they get about a minute's break every time a goal is scored (TV games at least) and have two 6 minutes and one 20 minute break during the match.

    There's no doubt those guys are very fit but in most team field sports environments I'm inclined to think most participants are nowhere near as fit as a top tennis player. Guys I knew who played club soccer usually ended up folded in half in agony when I played them in squash. The type of fitness they have is simply different.

    If you go down the physical hit side of things then, absolutely, tennis cannot be compared to AFL. Those guys take big hits... Then again, Rugby League has far, far bigger hits than AFL and is the same length game but with fewer scheduled stops. Probably a bit less straight running per-se but the hit-ups in AFL don't even compare to NRL.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
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  16. Vcore89

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    Badminton requires speed, stamina and mental tenacity throughout...

    However, personally I believe the Giro, Vuelta and Le Tour is far far and away more taxing, mountainously exhausting and requires tactical precience; team sports of course it is...
     
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  17. CRWV

    CRWV Rookie

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    only time I've played tennis for four hours, I was able to continue; I woke up stiff as hell, and pretty sore (sunburned to ****, but neither here nor there) but it was more about tenacity than exhaustion

    did a grappling competition; 1x5 minute match, 1 4ish minute match and by the third (over the course of an hour and change) I could barely stand.

    I'd rather play 4 hours of tennis than wrestle for 15 minutes.
     
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  18. MomentumGT

    MomentumGT Semi-Pro

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    I'd have to agree here. I went back to tennis from bjj and mma because it was too taxing on my body physically that being competition. I don't play marathon singles matches, but I've played 5 sets of round robin singles in one night with my buddies with not too much rest on change overs. We're all pretty much the same level at 4.5, and yes it was pretty brutal on the muscles and back but it was nothing physically and mentally compared to one of my amateur mma fights from years past.

    Heck, when I played tennis for college over ten years ago and had duel matches playing both singles and dubs I feel that didn't even compare to a 15 minute mma fight. The mental intensity and focus in a fight whether it be bjj, mma, wrestling, judo, where physical damage can be afflicted is very nerve racking and taxing mentally...the worst is before the fight haha.

    -Jon
     
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  19. furryballs

    furryballs Banned

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    Federer v Nadal Wimbledon 2008 match time 4 hours 43 minutes actual playing time 1 hour and 13 minutes.
     
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  20. *Sparkle*

    *Sparkle* Professional

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    I think people are forgetting that the amount of physical exertion that goes into a sport depends on the fitness/level of the people playing. If you don't have the fitness to reach the ball, the point ends. In a sport like football, if you aren't able to get to the ball, they pass it to someone else.

    Subbing football players after 60 minutes isn't because they are too physically exhausted to continue. It's because they won't play as well as their substitute, who has been sitting on the bench for all of that time. If a player does genuinely exhaust themselves after 60 minutes, they know that they can be substituted. Tennis and other solo athletes know they have to pace themselves or face the consequences.
     
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  21. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    it's difficult to compare a skill sport like tennis to something like soccer, football, basketball, baseball ect. you can be an amateur football/soccer/baseball/basketball player and still receive similar amounts of energy exertion in terms of running compared to the pros. the energy exertion in tennis is pretty proportional to how high a level you play at/what type of game you play. Compared to a 4.0 baseliner, an ATP baseliner exerts much more energy because they:
    (a) use more muscle groups on each shot (better technique)
    (b) are more skillful at hitting angles with pace and making the opponent run
    (c) are faster and have to run more because they are able to get to more balls and can keep the point neutral
    (d) don't commit as many unforced errors

    In most team sports, regardless of skill level, you are running back and forth across the field or court, which is very demanding for rec players. The same isn't necessarily true about rec tennis. Two old guys could be standing in the middle of the court, hacking the ball back and forth down the middle, using only their arm to swing.. until one hits the ball out or can't reach a ball going 20 mph, 10 feet away.

    So moral of the story is.. don't compare your experience playing tennis and assume its similar for the pros.
     
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  22. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Agree, espeically on the mental side of things. Hence you get absolute knuckleheads playing the game. NRL is extremely tough physically. The hits they receive are unbelievable. However AFL has a greater aerobic component, especially in this modern era of flooding I reckon. Can't remember the amount of times I've vomited on the field. There is no time to stand still anymore.

    Soccer requires a huge aerobic capacity. Its constant jogging up and down. Might look easy on tv, but its not.

    I often play five sets of tennis and come off reasonably fresh. So much of the time out there is spent waiting to return the ball, or picking up balls. Not as bad as baseball or cricket though. But a common denominator required for all these sports to be successful is mental toughness.
     
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  23. Chanwan

    Chanwan Legend

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    Badminton never even approached the three hour mark - isn't a one hour match or so the kind of the standard?

    Soccer is actually pretty hard - I for one am much more fatigued physically after a 90 min. match than I am after 4 sets of tennis.
     
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  24. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    I'm surprised that so many on here believe that tennis is not very physical sport.

    Every time someone wins a tennis match after playing a five setter in the previous round, many here immediately start to speculate that the player is on PEDs. Back in January people were certain that Djokovic was doping because he was able to dispatch Berdych after a tough 5 setter against Wawrinka in the previous round...during the grand slams, a five setter suddenly requires as much endurance as walking across the sahara desert with an iron ball chained to your leg.
     
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  25. MF878

    MF878 New User

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    No offense, but to me, this sounds just like another tennis player who plays squash for something to do when it's raining.

    "...in tennis where a small lull in concentration usually spells disaster." In a multi-hour marathon, there are often numerous momentum shifts. Commonly in squash, one momentum shift can turn the tables for the remainder of the match, because you have less time to switch it back. A player can win the first 2 games, then get too comfortable, and suddenly they've dropped the next 3. In best of 5 tennis, if a player relaxes a little too much after gaining a 2-set lead, the third set may run away from them, but not often the whole match unless the momentum shift was massive.

    "...tactically there are far fewer options and because it's so easy to keep the ball in play (easier than it is to hit it out in fact) that being in a poor patch of form doesn't weigh on you so much..." Yes, it's a lot easier to keep a ball in on a squash court than in tennis, no question. Therefore, the types of tactics employed are very different. The most common tactic (and frankly, the only one that should be used most of the time), is to always try and be in front of your opponent, so you own the front of the court when you get the treasured short ball. If you're a person who commonly drops the short ball, and your drop shot has gone to the dogs on that particular day, you will get frustrated, as you must choose methods of attacking your opponent that you are less comfortable with, such as a boast or cross court drive off the short ball. This to me is identical to tennis, it really hurts you mentally to have to play around something that's just not working like it usually does. If what you say is true, that there are less tactical options on the squash court, then wouldn't it hurt more to have less available to you on a particular day than in tennis? There is even a case here for poor form to matter more in squash, but I'd say they're equal.

    I've just realised how much I've typed, overprotective of my best sport I guess... It's just that what you said struck me as odd for someone "competitive" in squash to say, but you could be better than me for all I know...
     
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  26. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I played was a B1 graded player in NZ - only a handful of wins short of being an A2. Was I a rainy day squash player by your parameters? (I gave up when moved overseas)

    That's not what I meant. I meant it more in terms of in tennis being off form compound your issues much, much more than squash because the points are over instantly. By contrast in squash, if you're not hitting tight enough you can still stay in points and competitive, often for a long while. In some respects you can play your way back into form much moreso than tennis.

    The penalty in tennis for a moment's lapse is you lose the point - the penalty is instant - whereas there is a buffer in squash because of the massively easier task of keeping the ball in play. There is also the element of flow in tennis for example when you're having a bad day serving it's curtains basically. In squash missing your mark on serve is basically a non-event by comparison (unless a player is completely useless - this discussion isn't about those sorts of players).

    The brevity of squash for sure has its own challenges, as does the scoring format (when I last played you still had to have serve to score, now every rally counts). There is certainly more need to keep focussed than their used to be.

    The end of the story is the scope and available types of tactics in squash are much more limited than in tennis. It's also technically much, much easier than tennis so you rarely see squash players hitting too many forehands 6 inches long and it being the difference between winning and losing - but in tennis it often is exactly those sort of margins that lower a player's level significantly. That has a big mental element to it which, in the terms of my comments, adds levels of mental stress which have to be managed carefully but without panic.

    Technically the lack of flighting the ball* in squash removes a massive set of permutations in where things can go wrong, not to mention the variety in conditions in tennis are tenfold broader than squash.

    (*yes I know they do, but it's completely insignificant compared to what happens to a tennis ball)

    Such is the nature when people have passionate opinion on a topic. It's all good. I have no idea how good you are at squash so would be rolling a dice to make any call, especially since I haven't played in more than a decade.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
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  27. MF878

    MF878 New User

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    B1 would require a lot of rainy days. Forgive me for underestimating your knowledge. I guess I jumped the gun a bit because I get tired of people who think they're playing good squash, and can accurately compare it to tennis, but have no idea what they're doing.
     
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  28. wy2sl0

    wy2sl0 Hall of Fame

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    When I play 3 hours with my friends I am absolutely drained. We pretty much don't have time in between changeovers, and time between points is minimal; I would guess around 5-10 seconds. Playing hockey, even rec where we don't sub is very tiring as well if you are skating hard. The resistance on skates and time under tension is much greater than running in say soccer. High level NHL players that play 30 minutes a game I would say burn more calories than an average soccer player over 90 minutes, but that is just my opnion. I only played soccer for two years in high school.

    Oh, and excuse my ignorance to wrestling. We used to have grappling competitions between friends in high school, and it is by far the most tiring thing I have ever done. Every muscle in your body is being used it seems at full power.
     
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  29. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Sailing a singlehander dinghy at high level is the most exhausting sport, phydically and mentally, I have ever done. For the record, I have sailed in a World Championship.
    A major regata goes over the course of 3-4 days. You might sail up to 4 races pet day. A race could be up to 1.5 hrs each. Brakes are sometimes only 10min. After a windy day in heavy swell or chop, your whole body is crushed... Next morning you can hear the wind screaming and hate your life for having to do it all over again. And then 2 more days after that... By the day 4 your palms are raw bloody pulp, indespite the glowes... Dejydration sets in so much that you cramp all the time. Ah well, use the other hand just to open the fingers holding the main sheet...

    And then, there's shorthanded ocean sailing. Think all of the above, plus lack of sleep, hypotrrmia and mallnutrition...
     
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  30. NetNinja68

    NetNinja68 Rookie

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    Boxing. Three minutes of moving, swinging, blocking, slipping and being hit is tougher/more exhausting than any of them.
     
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  31. TopFH

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    MMA (Wrestling) is the toughest sport I've played. Tennis is second and football (soccer for you Americans) comes a close third. I've put tennis ahead because it demands more mental strength.
     
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  32. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    In a pro tennis match, the ball is only in play 8-10 minutes per hour.

    And the amount of actual distance covered in a tennis match is way behind hockey & soccer.

    http://tribesports.com/blog/the-average-distance-run-in-different-sports
     
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  33. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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  34. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    BUT, the amount of distance covered in tennis at near peak speed is probably 80%, In soccer it is about 5%, the rest of the time soccer players just saunter around at jogging or walking pace. Time spent at 100% intensity (of speed) tennis probably rates close to the highest of any sport - soccer and hockey don't even come close. The physical exertion needed for interval-type running compared to straight running can be over 5 times as high.

    Distance covered is also by no means the end-all of physical exertion when comparing tennis and soccer for example. Soccer requires next to nil physical preparation or bracing for a "shot" (other than lining it up and being oriented right for the correct foot) compared to the 500+ times a player hits a ball in a match where balance and preparation are generally paramount. Similarly, the mental fatigue of tennis is about 100-fold that of a team sport like soccer - and that's not even factoring that you are entirely responsible for it all unlike soccer where the mental load is shared between you and the ten person support network on field with you at all times.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
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  35. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This pretty much sums up most team sports, not just AFL... add in rugby league, rugby union, American football, soccer. All sports where barely one or two players on the field actually need to be mentally strong. Everyone else just needs to know their role and put their head down and do it - which often requires its own special mental skill that the outside world would usually refer to as "moron". :lol:
     
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  36. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    Never played a decent level (or any) soccer did you? There is no "sauntering". And of course you have to prepare your body during games. It requires supreme levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Tennis requires even more, but only really at the top levels. I'll agree with you re the mental fatigue side.

    They are such different sports, no doubt, but to discount soccer belies your ignorance re the game.
     
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  37. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Wrong. I played school and club soccer through my school years and then club soccer into my mid 20s. Not sure what decent level means but it was always competitive soccer.
    I don't think you got what I meant. In tennis every single movement is to the ball and requires fine-tuned foot movement, body positioning, upper body preparation, tracking of the ball etc. It requires tons, tons more preparation in that respect than soccer - so much so it's barely even worth mentioning for soccer where the vast majority of movement is not to an incoming ball - rather to keep position relative to other players etc.

    Not disagreeing with you there. Soccer is just much more casual in movement than tennis on average. Running 40m at 80% intensity is not even close to half as exhausting as running 8x 5m interval type accelerations yet they both cover the same distance. Plus each of those 5m movements in tennis ended with bracing, concentration, ball-tracking, decision-making the likes of which are non-existent for 99% of the time a soccer player is on the field, nor do soccer players generally have to factor in anything like the immediacy or penalty for failure when they get something wrong (notwithstanding that individual lapses in soccer generally aren't the cause of losses, team failings/shortcomings are).
     
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