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Kathleen S. Thomas, Larry Holmes, Donna L. Wolf. Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA.

BACKGROUND: Ideal functional movement is essential for optimal sports performance and has implications for injury prevention. Functional Movement Screening (FMS) TMis utilized to assess an athlete’s mobility, core strength, and joint range of motion. Higher FMS scores indicate greater ability to perform one of the seven movement patterns. The aim of this study was to identify differences in movement patterns of male and female NCAA Division I Tennis athletes. METHODS: Thirteen members (7 women) of a NCAA Division I Tennis team (mean ± SD: age=20±2.1 yrs.; height=174±9.2 cm; weight=71±9 kg) volunteered for FMS screening. Movement patterns assessed included deep squat (DS), hurdle step (HS), in-line lunge (IL), shoulder mobility (SM), active straight-leg raise (ASLR), trunk stability push-up (TSP), and rotary stability (RS). Individual scores were recorded for each screening item and a sum of all items were calculated to provide a total FMS score. Scoring valued between 0 and 3, with 3 indicating no compensatory movements and 0 indicating pain with movement. Lowest score of 2 attempts was recorded for each movement and used to calculate total FMS. Results: A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to compare FMS scores of each of the seven movement patterns and the total scores between the genders of tennis athletes. No significant differences were seen in the total FMS scores between males and females (15.2±1.6 vs.15±1.7; p=0.86). There were statistically significant differences (p≤0.05) between males and females for IL (2.0±0.63 vs. 2.7±0.49; p=0.042), ASLR (2.2±0.41 vs. 2.9±0.39; p=.009), and TSP (2.3±0.52 vs. 1.7±0.49; p=.048). This data indicates females performed better than men in IL and ASLR and males performed the TSP better than females. However, regardless of gender, tennis players were only able to perform at 71% across all the movement patterns. Conclusion: The findings of this study, indicate that female tennis players have greater ability to control movement while performing a lunge and greater hamstring flexibility than males. Similarly, males had greater ability to perform total body push-ups due to increased upper body strength. The total FMS scores for both genders indicated a 29% deficit in movement patterns hence, providing corrective exercises would be indicated to improve functional movement, sports performance, and potentially decrease injury potential.

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