Sport Synoptic Assignment-Maria Sharapova Evaluation

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Laura Bishop



This assignment will be based on the performance of Maria Sharapova.  I will be evaluating her tennis match against Justine Heinin-Hardenne at the US Open 2006 where Maria won the second grand slam title of her career.

Maria Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Russia on the 19 of April 1987.  She is 6 foot 2 inches and weighs 68kg.

Maria and her father moved from Russia to Florida when she was nine so that Sharapova could study at the tennis academy of Nick Bollettieri. Sharapova steadily worked her way up through the pro ranks, claiming her first WTA victory at the 2003 AIG Japan Open. Meanwhile she took occasional modelling jobs, earning comparisons to . In 2004 Sharapova stunned the tennis world by defeating defending champion  in the singles finals at Wimbledon to win the tournament at age 17.

She turned professional in 2001 at the age of 14.  She plays right handed and is coached by Robert Lansdorp.  Maria was best known as 17 year old singles champion of Wimbledon 2004 until she gained her second grand slam as a 19 year old at the US Open.

Maria is known for her ability to serve hard and pound forehands, these are the biggest strengths of her game.

Levers Module 1

Maria Sharapova is very tall at 6 foot 2” and so therefore has very long levers.  Tennis is becoming the exclusive area of tall people.  This is simply down to dynamics.  Tall people possess long levers and so more power can be generated, and a greater reach achieved from a long pull or swing of the arm than a short one.  Sharapova’s long levers also allow her to move around the court faster enabling her to return the ball with power and even reach the most awkward of shots.

Levers are mechanical devices which produce turning motions around a fixed point.  Bones act as levers, joints act as fulcrums (a pivot) and the muscle contracts to move the lever.  For example when you perform a bicep curl the elbow joint acts as the fulcrum, the muscle (bicep) contracts which allows the lever (bones-ulna and radius) to move.  This is an example of a third class lever.  Effective and efficient movement occurs as a result of a system of levers.  Levers have two main functions- to increase the resistance that a given effort can move and to increase the speed at which the body moves.

First Class Lever

In a first class lever the fulcrum lies between the effort and resistance force (load) like a seesaw.  Another example of a first class lever is the head, just moving it up and down. A first class lever in tennis would be the forehand swing of which Sharapova plays with great strength.  First class levers produce a lot of speed and power but the bi product is that it uses a lot of energy.

Second Class Lever    In a second class lever the resistance force is in the middle

with the fulcrum and effort either side.  This lever is used when Sharapova pushes off to change direction using the ball of her foot as a pivot when moving for the ball.  The effort would be the gastrocnemius muscle and the resistance                            would be the bone weight.  Second class levers allow more force to be applied and using less energy.

Third Class Lever                                                

In a third class lever the effort is between the fulcrum and resistance force.  This increases the speed of the body.  Sharapova is very tall and so has very long resistance arms      and effort arms and so she requires less effort to move a given resistance therefore increasing the force at which her racquet strikes the ball so this gives her more power and speed on the ball.  Sharapova has very strong legs, the action of the hamstrings and quadriceps on the knee joint are a very powerful example of a third class lever.  They cause flexion and extension of the lower leg.  Another example of this lever is a tennis stroke where holding the racquet is the load, the effort is the elbow and the fulcrum is the shoulder.

Muscles- Module 1

Tennis involves a large number of muscle groups in order to perform in an effective and efficient way.  Tennis requires the player to respond to a stimulus (the ball) which involves changing direction, stretching, lunging, reaching, stopping, starting while retaining balance.  Tennis requires a lot of flexibility as the players body is often put in extreme positions in order to return or play certain shots.  The player needs to have good muscular endurance to allow them to play powerful and effective shots all the way through a match rather than just at the beginning.  They need to be able to hit the ball just as hard at the end of the match as at the beginning.  The player needs to be able to make fast movements across the court to get into a desirable position in order to make explosive shots to give the ball speed to go further.  Sharapova showed us just how well she can keep playing her pounding forehands and serves right up until the end when she hit a big serve followed by a forehand winner making the score against Justine Henin-Hardenne to reach 30-15, Sharapova went on to win the match and the US Open 2006 title.

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The main muscle groups used in tennis are in the legs (quadriceps and gastrocnemius), and the arms (biceps and triceps) and abdominals.

The legs, especially the large muscles called the quadriceps which are a group of four muscles known as Sartorius, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis and Vastus Medialis (as you can see in the diagram) are used to make swift movements across the court.  They are used to lunge in order to reach and return the ball.  The arms, especially the player’s most used arm, in Sharapova’s case this is her right arm, is used to play forehand ...

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