Physical Education KS4 / GCSE: How playing tennis changes the human body

Freya Nicole Christie is a young British tennis player whose body has developed with thicker, stronger muscles and bones on one side of her body as a result of rigorous training.

Freya is a right-handed player and she trains every month of the year and hits over 1000 forehand shots every day.

As a result, her body looks symmetrical, but the bones in her racket arm are 20% thicker and contain more bone material than her non-playing arm.

The differences in tennis players' arms are up to 10 times more than a non-player.

It is not just bones but also muscles.

Skeletal muscles are the most adaptable muscles in our body.

Working the muscles cause the cells to divide and build more myofibrils which in turn means more power when playing a range of tennis shots.

Introduced by British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 4: GCSE

Pupils who have selected tennis can analyse the movement of the forehand techniques shown.

Methods of training can also be analysed and a training programme for tennis can be recommended.

The phrase “Experience wins over power” can be discussed by pupils in terms of what constitutes a winning performance

Curriculum Notes

This clip is suitable for teaching Physical Education at KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.