Effect of tennis racket parameters on a simulated groundstroke

  • Allen T
  • Haake S
  • Goodwill S
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Abstract

Composite materials have given manufacturers the freedom to develop a broad range of tennis rackets, allowing them to change key parameters such as the structural stiffness, mass, and position of the balance point. The aim of this research was to determine how changing these parameters could affect ball resultant rebound velocity and spin for a simulated groundstroke. A finite element model of a freely suspended racket and strings was used to determine the effect of racket parameters for oblique spinning impacts at a range of locations on the stringbed. The finite element simulations were conducted in the laboratory frame of reference, where the ball is projected onto an initially stationary racket. The mean rebound velocity of the ball was 9% higher for a structurally stiff racket, 37% higher for a heavy racket, and 32% higher for a head-heavy racket. In addition, the mean rebound topspin of the ball was 23% higher for a heavy racket and 21% higher for a head-heavy racket. Therefore, in relation to a groundstroke with an impact location away from the node, the rebound velocity of the ball is likely to increase with the structural stiffness of a racket. The effect of changing the mass and position of the balance point is more complex, as it is dependent on the relationship between the transverse moment of inertia and maximum pre-impact swing velocity.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ball
  • Finite element
  • Racket
  • Spin
  • Tennis

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