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Re: Ergonomic tennis raquets?

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  • Re: Ergonomic tennis raquets?


    I wonder if this another example of misguided use of the bent handle.

    Consider the case which is often used of the bent-handle hammer. This might
    lead to a more neutral wrist posture when hammering vertically downward at
    bench height, but place the wrist in an adverse posture for nailing
    floorboards, or on a vertical wall.

    Except on production lines, few tools are used for a single task.

    Similar things can be said about pliers, powered screwdrivers, nut-runners etc.

    Coming to the case of the tennis racquet, we would need to know what the
    improvement shown in the laboratory was based on - my guess is that it
    would be based on a small number of very stereotyped actions. When we then
    translate the tool (racquet) to a more general environment, a large
    variation of use is seen -- backhand and forehand, serves, volleys, ground
    strokes, smashes etc. It seems most unlikely that the bend will assist ALL
    of these, and very likely that the expert user will be more concerned by
    the ones which are worse, than those where there might be a marginal

    Owen Evans

    At 15:45 25/10/01, Max Hely wrote:
    >Dear Biomech'ers/Ergonomists (esp. of the sporting orientation),
    >The following is a quote from a recent article on product innovation and
    >strategic marketing, etc. etc. in an Australian business/management-oriented
    >"Racquet design formed the basis of (Mr X's) presentation. The crux of his
    >message was that technology can win in the laboratory yet lose in the
    >marketplace. He cited pioneering 'ergonomic' racquet designs featuring bent
    >handles and skewed heads. In performance tests these designs rated
    >consistently higher than conventional racquets, in some cases up to 18 per
    >cent higher. Yet they never succeeded as products, because tennis players
    >didn't like the way they looked." The article was accompanied by
    >illustrations of a racquet with the long axis of the oval head oriented
    >about 45 degrees to the axis of the handle; and another raquet with a
    >conventionally oriented head but with lower half of the hand grip offset
    >some 30 degrees or so. (No other info. provided on the tests - I'm trying to
    >chase up the author).
    >Tennis is not my area at all - to me, it's a place where you go to get a
    >sore neck.
    >But I was astounded by the assertion that, in an era where top players stand
    >to earn (or fail to earn) fortunes, the "look" of a raquet that "performs"
    >some "18%" better would dictate its acceptance.

    __________________________________________________ ___________
    Owen M EVANS, PhD
    Associate Professor, Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors
    School of Human Biosciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
    Postal: School of Human Biosciences, La Trobe University, VIC 3086, Australia Tel: +61 3 9479 5787 Fax: +61 3 9479 5784
    __________________________________________________ ___________

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