By Giselle Martin
Tennis has changed as compared to a few years ago. To excel in this sport, a tennis player needs to undergo extensive fitness training to improve footwork, speed, strength and performance. In order to out-stand the cut-throat competition, tennis players need to follow a tennis specific fitness training program that will help give them that slight edge on court.
Let us have a look at how tennis fitness training assists a tennis player in climbing the success ladder:
Types of Fitness Components
Tennis is a very diverse and complex sport. If you are serious about being successful, training for tennis should address all fitness components, rather than just focusing on court drills, or running fast. Depending on the time of the year, (pre-competition etc.) on an average a professional tennis player should dedicate, 30% of the total work time, to an effective tennis training program. A good fitness program will include strength training, agility training, power training, speed training, aerobic / anaerobic training, core training, balance training, coordination training and flexibility training. For a tennis player to make and see an overall improvement in their game, the key is to address all these individualized fitness components with correct intensity and load.
Develop Overall Strength
Up and coming young tennis players need to work more on developing strength, core, and balance. They need to focus on some basic full-body strength exercises, which will help them gain speed and flexibility.
Players who feel weak, and slow around the court, should dedicate more time on agility, and reaction drills and overall strength. This can help you feel lighter and quicker around the court, placing minimal stress and load on the body, thus reducing injuries.
Tennis is a sport that can last for hours, so tennis players need to have a high energy level as well as persistence. Many players will notice the benefits and a marked improvement in their level of strength and power endurance, deep into the last set, after following a specific tennis fitness training program.
Range of movement exercise's and keeping the body supple should be one of the main focuses with all tennis players. They should incorporate stretching as an important part of their tennis fitness program. Self- myofascial release exercises are also very important, as this will help maintain a healthy muscle. Performing tennis exercises regularly, not only helps in overall performance, but also helps, prevent and reduce injuries within tennis players. Doing some stretching exercises everyday after practice will boost muscle flexibility, this would further decrease the risk of injuries in the future.
The Perfect Solution
Often players can be seen giving excuses that they can not give time to training due to their tight schedules and continuous tournaments. A perfect solution to this is to perform a 20-30 min (Starter) tennis fitness workout prior to your regular tennis practice. Over time this will not only help improve your level of tennis fitness, but these starter workouts will have you warm, get your feet moving, and have you ready to go for the start of each practice. (no more wasting 10mins of your court time). If you can do these starter workouts 3-4 times a week, prior to each practice, you and your coach will be surprised how much more effective your time on court will be.