Washington : A research by the University of Bath has found out ways to develop future tennis champions.
According to the research, grouping young tennis players according to their physical maturity rather than their chronological age could help in it.
Boys and girls can vastly vary in their rates of growth and maturity during adolescence. Those that mature early are taller, quicker, bigger and stronger, giving them a significant advantage over their late maturing peers.
This means that later maturing players are often overlooked in the elite tennis selection process.
Now the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is collaborating with scientists at the University of Bath to use statistics to avoid selection bias towards early maturing players.
“Tennis is a sport that favours youth who are taller and mature earlier than their peers. Our data show that this selection bias impacts girls from the age of 10 and boys from the age of 12,” said senior lecturer Dr Sean Cumming.
“Every extra inch in height of a player increases the velocity of their serve by five per cent. At the elite level, it is quite common to find junior players, especially adolescent boys, who are six foot or greater in height,” he continued.
“The challenge for those working with young tennis players is to look beyond differences in maturity, and recognise those players who may have the greatest potential for success as an adult. While early maturing boys and girls have initial advantages, the pressure to win can lead them to play to their physical strengths at the expense of their technical development. In contrast, talented, yet late maturing players might be excluded or overlooked by talent spotters on the basis of physical characteristics that are not fully realised until adulthood,” he added.
The research team is developing new statistical methods to allow practitioners to better assess and account for individual differences in biological maturity and help ensure players are evaluated on the basis of their physical development, and not just their chronological age.
The University of Bath’s research team is also investigating using bio-banding techniques in other disciplines such as rugby, football and ballet.
The research has been published in Pediatric exercise science. (ANI)