tennis grunts

Daily Wisdom: Listen Up At Wimbledon

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

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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. 

"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'."


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."