The relationship of training load to physical-capacity changes during international tours in high-performance junior tennis players

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Journal Article
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2015, 10 (2), pp. 253 - 260
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© 2015 Human Kinetics, Inc. Purpose: Given the travel that punctuates junior tennis development, an understanding of the changes in fitness owing to touring and the association between training loads (TLs) and fitness on return is vital. The authors investigated physical-capacity changes from pretour to posttour, determining if those changes were related to the TL of athletes on tour. Methods: Thirty junior athletes completed fitness testing before and after 4-wk tours. Testing included double-leg countermovement jump (CMJ), dominant single-leg and nondominant single-leg CMJ, speed (5, 10, 20 m), modified 5-0-5 agility (left and right), 10 × 20-m repeated-sprint ability (RSA), and multistage fitness tests. Repeated-measures ANOVAs determined physical-capacity change, with effect-size analysis establishing the magnitude of change. To avoid regression toward the mean, a 1/3-split technique was implemented for comparative analysis (high to low TLs). Results: Moderate effects (d = 0.50-0.70) for reductions of up to 3.6% in 5-, 10-, and 20-m speeds were observed. However, all remaining changes were only of trivial to small magnitude (d < 0.40). Closer analysis of the interaction between TL and physical capacities (1/3-split) revealed that subjects who completed the greatest amount of total and tennis TL returned with a greater decline in speed and aerobic capacities (d > 0.80). Furthermore, it was observed that match load dictates on- and off-court TL, with an increase in matches won understandably stunting exposure to off-court TL. Conclusions: Specific training should be prescribed on tour to maintain speed characteristics over a 4-wk international tour. On-tour training schedules should be carefully monitored to maximize specific TL exposure after losses on tour.
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