tennis grunts

Daily Wisdom: Listen Up At Wimbledon

The sounds players make on the courts could reveal who will take home the trophy.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, and health stories.

TODAY'S TOPIC: HOW STRESS CAN IMPACT AN ATHLETE'S PERFORMANCE

THE SCIENCE

According to a recent study by researchers at Sussex University in England, tennis players who emit low-pitched grunts are more likely to win than those with high-pitched ones. 
EXPERT INSIGHT

"Non-verbal communication, such as grunting, presents itself in sports performance just as much as it does in day-to-day interactions," says Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. "When we are under stress, our respiration rate and the tone of muscles involved in speaking increase, which elevates the frequency or pitch of our voice." In this study, researchers noted higher frequency grunts at the beginning of the match. "This could indicate that the tennis players were stressed stepping onto the court; they may not have recovered from training or a previous match or they may be mentally taxed or anxious about their performance. All of these factors can negatively impact their game and the outcome of the match with the grunt potentially being their 'tell'."

THE BOTTOM LINE

All athletes need to be aware of their stressors and how they can impact fitness progress, says Berenc. "If you had a horrible day at work, stayed up late the night before, didn’t eat well, trained hard for multiple days in a row, or are just feeling drained, this could signal a need to pull back and allow for a recovery day. Attend a restorative yoga class, stretch, go for a walk, or meditate. The more actively you own recovery, the better you'll perform."