The present study investigated the heart rate response to playing tennis with special reference to the skill levels and ages of the participants. Data obtained in a similar manner during earlier studies of badminton and squash players were compared with that obtained during tennis. The number of rallies, mean rally time and actual playing time in 30 minutes of play was also compared for the different skill levels and sports. Results showed that playing tennis raised the players' heart rates to 68-70% of their predicted maximum heart rate (PMHR). Playing squash and badminton could raise heart rates to 80-85% of the players' PMHR which was significantly higher than the values obtained for tennis. The actual skill level of the participants within their chosen sport did not have a significant effect in predicting the physical demands of squash or tennis but was important in predicting the heart rate response of badminton players. The more skillful the badminton player the greater the cardiac response as a result of game play. Analysis of time spent in actual play revealed that tennis players were involved in play for only five of the thirty minutes of game play, compared to 15 and 10 min respectively for squash and badminton. Skill level within each sport was only a significant factor in predicting length of play for squash players in which the medium and highly skilled groups played significantly longer than those of a lower level of skill.
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