The tennis serve and its relationship to performance in competition: a study of selected matches during the 1997 Kenya National tennis championships
Gathege, Dorothy Waithira
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The tennis is probably the most important stroke in tennis as it is a stroke used to put the ball into play and the means by which all points are started. The purpose of this study was to find out the relationship of the serve to performance by focusing on male and female players during the Kenya National Tennis Championships attracted players from main urban towns in Kenya. The matches were played on murram courts and was organized on qualifying draws and main draw. Subjects of this study were drawn from the qualifying draws and main draw using stratified random sampling. All matches for the semi-final and final were used for the study. A total of 41 matches, 26 male and 15 female matches were observed. This included winners and losers in both gender groups. A manual charting systems was used to collect the data by the researcher and her assistants who watched the matches and recorded the frequencies of the wins (good/in, aces) and errors (nets, outs, mishits) committed in the first serve and second serve for the two opposing players. Descriptive statistical analysis using mean scores and percentage tabulations showed that male and female winners executed more good/in serves and also ace serves. The winners were also observed to have executed more net errors and less out errors as opposed to the losers. More wins (good/in, ace) and faults (net, out, mishit errors) were recorded in the first serve than in the second serve. Inferential Statistics indicated that there was a significant difference at p05 between the male winners and losers in the execution of aces using the 't' test and hence the hypothesis that there was no significant difference between the two groups was rejected. The outcome of this study confirmed the works of Brabenec (1994a), Elliot Kilderry (1993), Moore Chaffin (1982) and of Kiganjo Njororai (1997) which found that players who make few errors emerge as winners of tennis match.