Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tennis – a Supersport

Tennis – a Supersport
Andre Willers
21 Aug 2008

The sweat rate of a sport is taken as proportional to the heat-generation of muscles . Tennis is found to generate about three times as much work as the closest runners-up like tri-athletes , marathoners , sprinters ,etc . (See table below)
We try to show why .

The Sweaty table
Sweating p68 Pop Mechanics Aug 2008
Quarts/hr PercDiff Increase
Tennis 5.92 270%
TriAthlete 1.60 6%
Marathon 1.51 2%
Sprinter 1.48 1%
RaceWalker 1.47 16%
ShotPut 1.27 7%
200M sprint 1.19 3%
Baseball 1.16 35%
LightBoxer 0.86

Why the sudden jump at the tennis level ?

Uncertainty and Mirror Neurons
See “Mirroring People” by M. Iacoboni (ISBN 13 978 0 374 21017 5)
See Mirror Neuronal networks as discussed in

Briefly , mirror neurons project future actions . The system is activated by visual and verbal actions (the accent is on actions) . The physical sites of the most active mirror sites have been identified by fMRI as the Broca’s area and visual centers.
The critical thing to realize is that neurons in the brain that accompany actual muscle movements fire the same as for real movements . The impulses to activate the muscles are interrupted , presumably by an adaptation of the mechanism that prevents dreams being translated into movements .

This mechanism has been proven to discriminate between neuron-firings from various levels of mirror networks of “what-if” and an actual real-life signal coming through .

Tennis has a very high level of uncertainty . The ball can come at any speed from any direction and it is not a team sport (team sports dilutes the uncertainty)

The easiest way to explain is by way of analogy :
When you throw a ball to your dog to “fetch” , notice his quivering . This has hardly anything to do with fight-or-flight .

The dog does not know where the ball is going , so it prepares for any trajectory .
His system is flooded with ATP , continual nerve signals are sent to antagonistic muscles to increase tension between intra-cellular molecular groups .

This shows as shivering or trembling on the macro-scale .
Every muscle is mobilized , not only the probable ones .

Normally , the mirror-neurons would have fired on the most probable actions and there would be no shivering .

When the “go” nerve signal arrives , there is an immediate intra-muscular cascade . The muscle contracts in a spasm .

Shivering is of course the main mechanism for generating heat if the organism is cold.

The same mechanism is used if the organism’s mirror neurons cannot come to a decisive vote on a course of action . Signals leak through and shivering results . Extreme stress symptoms are shown . Tears and explosive violence are not unknown .

This is usually described as a psychotic break or a paradigm shift , depending on your standing in the old dispensation .

Since there is such a close correlation between shivering from cold and shivering from multiple probabilities , we wonder if we cannot induce the one from the other .

We know that rearranging features in a smile can change a mood . There is a whole school of psychology based on it (operant conditioning) .

A tennis player would do well to train in shivering a cold environment .

Conversely , certain types of psychosis should respond well to “Freeze Therapy” .
Freeze them till shivering sets in . Show action examples and words of the desired roles . Hopefully , the patient’s mirror networks will change .Note that this does not require conscious collaboration on the part of the patient . By sculpting the environment , any desired vote of the mirror-neurons can be engineered , especially in a shivering cold .

Can you see why shivering in an uncertain athletic circumstance causes a lot of
sweat ?
The body is preparing to go in any direction . Most sports involve a repertoire of limited actions . The body , after a lot of training , can perform these if it can get over it’s various sulks . But , faced with uncertainty like an incoming tennisball it reverts to the shivering model . Hence the heat generation and the sweating .

People with schizophrenic tendencies should not play tennis unless under medical supervision at temperatures above shivering .

Tennis players , their children and grand-children should beware of kidney stones because of epigenetic factors .

You can find shivering temperatures at any large bottle-store with walk-in refrigerators .


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