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The Effects of "Grunting" on the Tennis Serve and Forehand Velocity

Discussion in 'Break Room' started by NewsBot, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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    The Effects of "Grunting" on Serve and Forehand Velocity in Collegiate Tennis Players.
    O’Connell, Dennis G. PT, Ph.D., DPT, CSCS, FACSM; Hinman, Martha PT, Ed.D; Hearne, Kevin F. DPT; Michael, Zach S. DPT; Nixon, Sam L. DPT
    Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 30, 2014
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    My kids have started learning tae kwondo, and the instructor teaches them to inhale, then rapidly exhale when punching/kicking. He said you generate more power, and that the noise intimidates opposition.
  4. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    I recall that in karate the formal term 'kiai' is used to denote a shout when a blow is made. We were always taught that it enhanced the control and potency of the attack. I suspect that this is common to many martial arts.

    Bill Liggins
  5. And marital arts too judging by my neighbours' nocturnal exertions which appear to be conducted these nights with all the efforts of a William's SistersWimbledon final. Must be the weather..
  6. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Who'll win at Wimbledon? Just listen to the pitch of the grunts
    Never mind counting aces and killer shots. If you want to predict the outcome of a tennis match, pay attention to the players' grunts.

    As Wimbledon prepares for another year of the on-court cacophony from the likes of Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka, a new study has revealed that grunts produced by players during tennis matches they lost were higher in voice pitch than during the matches they won.

    What's more, psychologists at the University of Sussex found that players displayed differences in their grunt pitch long before the scoreboard made it clear whether they would win or lose.

    Doctoral researcher and university tennis team captain Jordan Raine, together with mammal communication experts Professor David Reby and Dr Kasia Pisanski, analysed television footage of 50 matches featuring some of the world's top 30 tennis players.

    They measured grunts made by the players during serves, backhand and forehand shots, and recorded at what stage of each match the grunts were produced, as well as whether the players won or lost the match.

    While the pitch, or fundamental frequency (F0), of grunts increased as matches progressed, the study, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, found that the likely match outcome for a player may become apparent from the outset.

    Mr Raine said: "This suggests that this shift in pitch is not due to short-term changes in scoreboard dominance, but instead, may reflect longer term physiological or psychological factors that may manifest even before the match. These factors could include previous encounters, form, world ranking, fatigue, and injuries."

    It seems these differences are distinguishable even without scientific analysis. When competitive tennis players were played short clips of other players' grunts, with no access to any other information, they were able to identify which of two grunt sequences produced by the same player came from a match that the player lost, suggesting that tennis grunts may provide useful information to competitors regarding a player's internal state during a match.

    Professor Reby, whose previous research includes identifying the connection between voice pitch and sexual attraction in mammals, said: "As with other mammal calls, the acoustic structure of human grunts contains information that may help us to infer contest outcome."

    Dr Pisanski, who has studied how and why humans alter their voice pitch, said: "Future research is set to look at whether other human vocalisations, such as aggressive roars and fear screams, convey further clues about the evolution of human vocal behavior."
  7. Earl Bautista

    Earl Bautista Welcome New Poster

    Interesting study. When watching tennis on TV, I don't mind grunting too much as long as its not too drawn out.
  8. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    How grunting influences perception in tennis
    Exceeding noise levels of 100 decibels, the grunting sounds produced by some tennis players when hitting the ball are on a par with motorbikes or chainsaws. While fans react to these impressive exhalations with either annoyance or amusement, the habit has also been a source of intense debate among professionals. For instance, Serena Williams has said that she is not bothered by opponents grunting in the heat of the competition. In contrast, former world number one Martina Navratilova has complained that grunting masks the sound of the racket striking the ball, making it - unfairly - harder to predict the ball's trajectory. The question of whether this common complaint is justified has now been examined in a new study by a team of sport psychologists from Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, led by Dr Florian Müller and Prof. Rouwen Cañal-Bruland.
    Experiment with manipulated grunting noises
    For this study, the research team conducted a series of experiments in which experienced players were shown video clips of rallies from a professional tennis match. After observing players hitting the ball, they had to work out the ball's trajectory and indicate where it would land. Largely unnoticed by participants, though, the intensity of the grunting noises was manipulated.
    Grunting biases anticipation of ball flight
    Results indicate that grunting does have an effect - but not the one claimed by Navratilova. There was no evidence that grunting caused a distraction effect. In spite of the supposed irritation, participants' level of error in predicting where the ball would land was the same - regardless of the intensity of the grunts. Instead, it was shown that the louder the grunting, the further the participants assumed the ball would fly. This reaction was observed even when the noises could only be heard after the racket had made contact with the ball, as is usual in many professional matches. "We assume that players account for the physiological benefits provided by grunting," explains Müller. Other researchers have demonstrated that forcefully exhaling air activates the abdominal muscles, providing additional strength that enables players to hit harder, making the ball fly faster. "This possibly explains why an effect can be observed as a result of the grunting, but the ability to anticipate the ball's trajectory remains unaffected."
    Perception in sport as the interplay of multiple sensory impressions
    According to Müller and his colleagues, the results of the study suggest that Navratilova's claim needs to be reconsidered. For the sport psychologists, it is also evidence that sensory impressions other than sight are of importance in sport as well, and that scientists should look at these more closely in future. For this reason, too, they want to stay 'on the ball' and investigate the phenomenon further. To get closer to real-world conditions, in the next step participants will have to catch a tennis ball on the touchscreen in real time. Ultimately, the experiment could even be conducted during a real match on a tennis court - as long as no one in the neighbourhood is disturbed by excessively loud grunting.
    Original-Publication: Müller F, Jauernig L, Cañal-Bruland R (2019) The sound of speed: How grunting affects opponents' anticipation in tennis. PLoS ONE 14(4): e0214819. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214819

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