Mixing two passions: Tennis and Science!

Caroline Martin is a tennis player, coach, and researcher who works to optimize performance and prevent injuries for high-level tennis players in France and internationally. For opening day of the International tennis tournament the French Open, DiscovHER talks to her about her career path, her passions and how her research is changing the tennis world.

Tell us about your research. How can you apply it to the world of tennis?

My research has two main applications: performance enhancement and injury prevention for tennis players. I work particularly with high-level players and their coaches to help them analyze the service motion so we can then work to optimize it (serve harder, be more consistent, have less pain, etc.)

We record the player’s movement on the court and then carry out an assessment on very specific performance parameters to identify what can be improved and what is already working well. I use very specialized technology like motion capture which allows us to dissect and view the player’s motion in 3D and electromyography to measure levels of muscle contraction.

Why did you choose to pursue a scientific career?

My career path developed gradually. I started my studies in STAPS (Science and Technology of Physical and Sports Activities) to become a Physical Education teacher. I then joined the Sports Science and Physical Education department at the École Normale supérieure Rennes, where I discovered scientific research in the field of sport. The new technologies we used were so interesting to me and I quickly realized there was an opportunity to combine a scientific career with my passion: tennis.

How did you first come up with the idea of combining tennis with your interest in science?

It was a really natural idea for me. I was a high-level tennis player and then became a coach for young players. In my own personal training sessions, I was always asking myself questions about performance enhancement. So, science quickly became a way to respond to these questions in an objective and precise way. Science and Sports are two areas that still do not interact with each other enough, and my idea is to link them together.

What do you particularly like about your job?

I am a tennis lover, so I really enjoy working and interacting with players and their coaches, and helping them with the questions they are asking. I also love collaborating with my colleagues, sharing points of view and ideas to advance our research. Travelling to present my work results in various parts of the world is also a really enjoyable aspect of my job!

What do you think of Caroline Martin's job? Tell us on @4womeninscience and find out more information about her on :www.caromartin-tennis.com

For Women in Science

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