Grunting in tennis refers to the loud noise oftentimes described as either "shrieking" or "screaming", which some players have a tendency to make when hitting their shots. It is one of the most recognizable aspects of the game in men's and women's tennis alike, and it is considered to be quite distracting or obnoxious above a certain sound level. This has led tennis supporters from all over the world to wonder whether or not the shrieks are natural or they’re a player’s quirky way of making a statement. It has also been suggested by other followers that grunting is made with the purpose of gaining an advantage over opponents. The following guide deals with the issues of this odd habit and aims to clarify whether and how grunting can affect your overall play.
While it might be quite challenging to provide reliable evidence that grunting does improve your performance, there are a few reasons why it could be helpful. By putting the outmost amount of energy into every single shot, there has to be a means of releasing that same energy. Consequently, grunting as you hit the ball allows you to release this built-up energy since not expelling it would make your body tighten up. This explains to some degree why certain players prefer letting out any sound by grunting, also referred to as “a release of energy in a constructive way” by pro tennis trainer Nick Bollettieri. Having personally trained the majority of the controversially loud "grunters" including Seles, Sharapova, Agassi, and the Williams sisters, he has repeatedly been accused of deliberately teaching grunting as a distraction tactic.
While some consider grunting to be unsportsmanlike, due to the fact that it obscures the sound of string impact, resulting in an increase in an opponent’s decision error, and a slower response time, there are those who believe grunting is part of the rhythm for tennis players. Not only does it help you expel energy, but grunting can also improve your timing, as it seems to be helping some players in establishing a solid rhythm while they hit. Consequently repetition leads to consistency and consistent players are usually the ones winning.
In a similar manner certain players achieve better results simply by staying quiet and clenching their energy inside while other athletes display their exertion more obviously. Whatever the case may be tennis players have to exude confidence and implement the strategy that works. If grunting seems to boost your confidence then feel free to use whatever technique you find to be helpful. Despite the fact that all athletes make noises while playing, tennis happens to be a rare sport in which spectators are expected to remain silent during the play, making it much easier to hear the slightest noise coming from the player. That being said, players shouldn’t preoccupy themselves with such minor issues, such as grunting, but instead employ sound tactics and merely concentrate on improving their overall performance and gaining matches.
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