Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 304 - 308

Research article
Ball Machine Usage in Tennis: Movement Initiation and Swing Timing While Returning Balls from a Ball Machine and from a Real Server
Jan Carboch , Vladimir Süss, Tomas Kocib
Author Information
Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Praha, Czech Republic

Jan Carboch
✉ Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Department of Sport Games, Prague, Czech Republic
Publish Date
Received: 09-08-2012
Accepted: 13-12-2013
Published (online): 01-05-2014
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Practicing with the use of a ball machine could handicap a player compared to playing against an actual opponent. Recent studies have shown some differences in swing timing and movement coordination, when a player faces a ball projection machine as opposed to a human opponent. We focused on the time of movement initiation and on stroke timing during returning tennis serves (simulated by a ball machine or by a real server). Receivers’ movements were measured on a tennis court. In spite of using a serving ball speed from 90 kph to 135 kph, results showed significant differences in movement initiation and backswing duration between serves received from a ball machine and serves received from a real server. Players had shorter movement initiation when they faced a ball machine. Backswing duration was longer for the group using a ball machine. That demonstrates different movement timing of tennis returns when players face a ball machine. Use of ball machines in tennis practice should be limited as it may disrupt stroke timing.

Key words: Tennis, ball machine, server, return stroke, movement initiation

           Key Points
  • Players have shorter initial move time when they are facing the ball machine.
  • Using the ball machine results in different swing timing and movement coordination.
  • The use of the ball machine should be limited.
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