Practice improves court mobility and self-efficacy in tennis-specific wheelchair propulsion Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Wheelchair tennis (WT) propulsion is uniquely characterized by the requirement for racket holding coupled with effective hand-rim contact. Thus, investigations involving strategies to enhance chair mobility skills are merited. The aim was to examine the effects of organized practice on WT match play responses and the impact of racket holding during practice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Following physiological profiling involving graded and peak exercise testing, 16 able-bodied (AB) participants performed bouts of WT match play interspersed with practice involving wheelchair mobility drills completed with (R) or without (NR) a tennis racket. A data logger recorded distance and speed. Self-efficacy was reported. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Significant main effects for match revealed higher post-practice overall and forwards distances (p < 0.05), peak (p < 0.005) and average (p < 0.05) speeds and self-efficacy (SE) (p = 0.001) were attained. During practice, lower distances and speeds were achieved with R, with a lower physiological cost than NR. Practice increases court movement and SE with no associated increases in physiological cost. Changes represent enhanced court mobility. Differences between practice characteristics provide options for skill development and optimization of health outcomes.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONWheelchair tennis participation is likely to confer positive health effects in those with a disability or physical impairment.As chair propulsion combined with racket holding represents a complex skill challenge, novices may find the sport challenging to play.Tennis-specific mobility drills improve confidence and chair propulsion skill with likely crossover into tennis match play competence and ability.


  • Sindall, Paul
  • Lenton, John P
  • Mason, Barry S
  • Tolfrey, Keith
  • Cooper, Rory A
  • Martin Ginis, Kathleen A
  • Goosey-Tolfrey, Victoria L

publication date

  • May 19, 2021