Grunting is a controversial topic in tennis. We have all heard the stories and everyone has an opinion on the matter. I have some opinions of my own, which you’ll read about in a minute, but in general I think the issue has been blown a little out of proportion. Here is what two of the all time great women’s players have said about the issue:
“The grunting has reached an unacceptable level. It is cheating, pure and simple. It is time for something to be done.”
– 59 time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova
“It is distracting when you are hearing this and I think the grunts are getting louder and more shrill now with the current players”
– 18 time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert
While louder than necessary grunting is becoming a real issue on the women’s tour, with many even calling it cheating, the fact is that natural grunting does have some real scientific benefits.
The Benefits of Grunting
The benefits of expressing air out of your lungs while doing physical exercise has been know for hundreds of years. Just look at martial arts footage of people breaking concrete blocks with their hands, or do a quick YouTube search for weightlifters pushing themselves to the max. The process of exhaling or grunting helps with balance, strength, stamina and the release of energy.
More Decibels is Not Better
That’s not to say that you need to do a battle cry of over a hundred decibels (close to the sound of a Formula 1 car) like some players have. That’s just unnecessary. The benefits of grunting do not increase with decibel level. Have a listen to the humorous video below to understand what I mean.
If you are a tennis player looking to improve your game try blowing air out in a relaxed and natural way as you swing forward to contact the ball. This will help with power on your contact and release tension in your body.
If you are a tennis coach don’t waste your time teaching someone how to grunt. Grunting in tennis is something that develops naturally in most cases. However, if you notice your player is not breathing right follow the above tips to improve the natural biomechanics of his/her body.
What do you think about grunting in today’s tennis? Is it getting out of hand or is it a natural part of the game? Let me know what you think on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook. If you have any burning questions you can also ask me on Quora.