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
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2022) 21, 586 - 594   DOI:

Research article
Upper Extremity Muscle Activation during Drive Volley and Groundstroke for Two-Handed Backhand of Female Tennis Players
Mu-Lin Tai1, Chun-Ju Yang1, Wen-Tzu Tang1, , Bruce Elliott2, Kai-Lung Chang1,3
Author Information
1 Graduate Institute of Athletics and Coaching Science, National Taiwan Sport University (NTSU), Taoyuan, Taiwan
2 School of Human Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
3 Associate professor, Office of Physical Education, National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taipei, Taiwan

Wen-Tzu Tang
✉ Institute of Athletics and Coaching Science, National Taiwan Sports University, No 250, Wenhua 1st Rd, Guishan, Taoyuan 33301, Taiwan
Publish Date
Received: 08-04-2022
Accepted: 12-10-2022
Published (online): 01-12-2022
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Drive volley is one of the essential backhand stroke technique trends seen in recent women’s tennis competitions. Although movements of the drive volley and groundstroke are similar, activation of the internal muscles vary due to different incoming ball conditions. Most previous studies only focused on the groundstroke, however. The current study investigates the different muscle activation patterns in the upper extremity muscle during the two-handed backhand drive volley as well as the groundstroke for female tennis players. Ten elite female tennis players were measured in the muscle activation of the flexor carpi radialis (FCR), extensor carpi radialis (ECR), biceps brachii (BB), and triceps brachii (TB) from both upper extremities. Racket-head speed at impact, swing duration of each phase, and racket-head average velocity in both strokes were also recorded. Significant differences were found between the drive volley and groundstroke in the velocity profile of racket tip, swing duration of each phase (preparation, early follow-through, and late follow-through), activation patterns of upper extremity muscles, and flexor/ extensor ratios of wrist and elbow in both upper extremities. Different racket trajectory strategies were also observed between the two strokes, with greater horizontal racket velocity recorded in the groundstroke but greater vertical velocity in the drive volley. ECR and TB muscle activation during the drive volley preparation phase was greater than the groundstroke when completing a quicker backswing. In the early acceleration phase, the greater FCR leading arm activation in the drive volley assisted wrist stabilization in preparation for impact. In the late follow-through phase, less TB leading arm activity and higher ECR trailing arm activity in the drive volley showed more forward compression movement in racket contact with the ball. As it is essential for the drive volley to complete a quicker backswing and to increase shot efficiency at the end of the forward movement, coaches should consider the two strokes’ muscle activation and technique differences to enhance specific techniques and fitness training programs.

Key words: EMG, leading arm, trailing arm, racket speed

           Key Points
  • This study is the first to provide muscle activation data on the upper extremity in the drive volley via exploration of EMG activation patterns during each phase of the drive volley.
  • Compared with the groundstroke, the swing characterized drive volley perspective is found to have a higher vertical racket velocity, whereas the groundstroke has a higher horizontal velocity. In addition, the drive volley has a shorter preparation but longer follow-through.
  • In muscle activation strategies for the drive volley, the ECR and TB trailing arm play an important role in quickly completing the backswing during the preparation phase. The earlier recruitment of the FCR leading arm is the requirement of wrist stabilization during the early acceleration phase. The longer ECR trailing arm maintains racket face stability during the late follow-through phase.
  • In the timings bordered at impact, the assumption regarding the muscle activation of two strokes will be different especially close to impact was not supported, due to high-level activation against violent impact.
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