The Physical Aspect of Tennis



Tennis is a demanding sport, the top players of which perform incredible displays of speed, power, flexibility and endurance. Today we will look at the different areas of physicality in tennis and how these areas can be trained!


Power:

Power is the combination of speed and strength and is crucial for generating enough power on both the serve and in rallies. A powerful jump and leg drive on the serve helps to start points with the upper hand. Training this component of tennis fitness can greatly improve your capacity to be aggressive on the court.


Agility:

Agility is the ability to change directions rapidly when moving. Tennis on average contains 4 changes of direction per point, making agility a prevalent part of every tennis match. Having better agility means faster recovery and allows for better positioning for every shot. This is why it is crucial to have split steps embedded in one’s game; to improve reactivity and agility. The best way to train this component is focusing on acceleration and deceleration as you’ll see below.


Endurance:

Maintaining high intensity in points as a match goes on is another important skill. Keeping a wide base, keeping the centre of gravity low and maintaining footwork intensity over a long match requires excellent muscle endurance. If you’ve ever seen players like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic grind through a grueling 5 set match, you’ve seen the incredible endurance the elite players possess. Improving your endurance allows you to maintain higher quality tennis for longer.


Flexibility:

Perhaps one of the least talked about components of tennis fitness is flexibility. Flexibility is extremely important in tennis, playing a huge role in both performance enhancement and injury prevention. Good range of motion in the shoulder area contributes to greater power on the serve as well as prevention of shoulder injuries. Tight muscles can also lead to greater injury risk and muscle strains. This is why it is important to incorporate some form of stretching in a tennis training program.



How to train these components?

For each of the below components, a simple training session can be completed with the sets and repetitions on each exercise listed. Completing these training sessions in conjunction with a tennis program will help to further enhance progression.

Recommendation: Complete 3 sessions per week.


Power Session:

1. Jumping Squats

Sets: 3

Repetitions: 12

Rest: 60 seconds


2. Jumping Lunges

Sets: 3

Repetitions: 12

Rest: 60 seconds


3. Push-ups

Sets: 3

Repetitions: 12

Rest: 60 seconds



Speed/Agility Session:

1. Tennis Court Suicide (touching each line and recovering):

Sets: 3

Repetitions: N/A

Rest: 60 seconds


2. 5 second Sprint (sprinting doubles line to doubles line on a court will give similar distance):

Sets: 3

Repetitions: 3 per set

Rest: 60 seconds


3. Baseline-to-Net and Recover (sprint from the baseline, touch the net and recover backwards to the baseline as quickly as possible):

Sets: 3

Repetitions: 3 per set

Rest: 60 seconds



Endurance Session:


1. Wall sit

Sets: 3

Duration: 60 seconds

Rest: 60 seconds


2. Plank:

Sets: 3

Duration: 60 seconds

Rest: 60 seconds


3. Walking Lunges:

Sets: 3

Repetitions: 20 steps

Rest: 60 seconds



Flexibility Session:

*Complete after a tennis match/training session while muscles are warm.


1. Toe-touch and Hold:

Sets: 3

Duration: 30 seconds

Rest: 30 seconds


2. Side-Lunge Groin Stretch:

Sets: 3

Duration 30 seconds

Rest: 30 seconds


3. Calf Stretch:

Sets: 3

Duration 30 seconds

Rest: 30 seconds


4. Shoulder Stretch:

*With the dominant hand placed on a wall or fence just above shoulder height, turn in the opposite direction until you feel a stretch in your shoulder/chest. Hold in this position for time advised.


Sets: 3

Duration 30 seconds

Rest: 30 seconds




Each of these sessions should be completed after playing tennis to ensure muscles are warm. Complete exercises with correct form to avoid potential injury.


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My name is Jay and I’ve been working with Fireball for just over a year, and it has been one of the best years of my working life! With the recent Corona Virus outbreak halting coaching, I have had ti

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