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Through exploration of the science in tennis, there are many apparent internal and external factors that influence a tennis player's performance. Internal factors that influence a tennis player's performance include physiological fitness, injury, psychology and transfer of energy. Environmental factors that influence a tennis player's performance include accessibility of performance enhancement drugs, equipment and technological equipment. It may appear strange that access to performance enhancement drugs is classified as an environmental factor. Taking into consideration that performance enhancement drugs are foreign stimulants in excess of the body's own hormones and chemicals, access to performance enhancement drugs should be considered an environmental factor rather than an internal factor.

An understanding of the physiological fitness demands in tennis is beneficial to the performance of a tennis player. In addition, the tennis player should also acquire knowledge about his or her personal physical well-being and needs. In doing so, the tennis player and/or his or her trainer will be able to implement a suitable fitness program that addresses the metabolic processes that the body undergoes during strenuous competition. For example, through endurance training, an athlete undergoes fat oxidation to allow the body to adapt to this metabolic process in actual competition. Through acquiring knowledge in regards to his or her own physical needs, a tennis player will also be able to plan suitable amounts of nutrient intake and match rehydration. Failure to recognize a suitable nutrition plan will be detrimental to the tennis player's performance, as the result may include negative biological responses, such as cramping or heat stroke.

Knowing to avoid injury or identify injury in its early stages will be beneficial to a tennis player's performance. By identifying injury early, the tennis player avoids the escalation of the injury into a more severe condition, that may impede their ability to play at their fullest. For example, not only is tennis elbow painful in its later stages, but it will take the arm much time to heal and recover to its full strength. In the meanwhile, the tennis player will not be able to practice, lagging him or her behind the training of opponents.

The intake of performance enhancement drugs and genetic doping would most likely appear to be beneficial to a tennis player's performance. However, this is at a great cost. The body may experience unsightly short or long-term side-effects. As well, if a tennis player is discovered to have injected performance enhancement drugs, his or her reputation as an athlete will be trampled.

Other than physiological fitness, psychology is likely the most powerful factor influencing the performance of a tennis player. Data collected from several studies prove that being able to maintain a positive attitude and envision success are beneficial to performance.

In the department of biomechanics, there has been heated debate as to if traditional or contemporary technique is better for a tennis player's performance. With presently top-ranked professional tennis players exhibiting more of the contemporary technique that stresses fluency, it can be concluded that a tennis player's personal feeling of fluency should prevail in the development of their technique. In a tennis player's development of their technique, they should also consider the benefits of the utilization of muscular elastic energy.

Contacting the ball with the "sweet spots" of a tennis racquet will increase the racquet's polar moment of inertia, which reduces the racquet's tendency to spin on its handle's axis. This will allow the tennis player to feel less shock in their hand and more comfortable while playing.

Lastly, with the increasingly advanced technology in match analysis technology, tennis players will greatly benefit. With this technology, coaches will better aid tennis players on improving in specific areas in their game. Technology such as TM Eye and Shot Spot will also be beneficial to tennis players. If tennis event organizers choose to deem collected data as official data that could be used to override ambiguous calls, professional tennis players will more likely be able to concentrate on playing well, rather than worrying about the inconsistency of officiating.

Copyright © 2005 Iris Wong, Grade 11, Queen Elizabeth High School, Calgary, Alberta
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