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Does grunting help your tennis game?

The grunt.

Called a distraction by some and a performance enhancer by others, the grunt has been heard in games ranging from Olympic weightlifting to table tennis. It has also, undoubtedly, become a norm in both men and women’s professional tennis where the noise rings out as players strike the ball.

Grunting is so much a part of the game that Olympics sound engineers have set up thousands of microphones at the 2012 games to capture those moans and yells for television viewers worldwide.

So what’s the deal? Do those shrieking, screaming, cacophonous noises serve some kind of purpose? Or are they just an annoying distraction?

University of Minnesota Men’s Tennis Head Coach Geoff Young and U of M Department of Neurology assistant professor Michael Howell, M.D. provide some answers.

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