Given the range of tennis racquets and different types of balls now available to children, have you wondered which combination of racquet & ball produces the best performance?
A study was conducted that assessed the influence of various racquet and ball combinations on children’s forehand performance. Children were to play 7 forehands to a target using either a 19″ racquet, a 23″ racquet or a 27″ racquet, in combination with either a “red” ball (25% compression of a standard ball), a “green” ball (75% compression of a standard ball), or a “yellow” ball (a standard tennis ball). Hence there were 9 racquet and ball combinations.
Results showed that hitting accuracy was far superior when the equipment was scaled, with best results appearing for 19″ racquet and red ball combination.
With regards to hitting technique, it was apparent that the red ball afforded children more time to strike the ball out in front of their body and also with a low-to-high swing. Certainly both of these are desirable characteristics of the forehand technique.
Coaches are encouraged to scale equipment appropriately for children to allow optimal performance to emerge.