Agility Training For Tennis
Tennis is becoming faster and faster and being able to move well and to be quick on the court is now a requirement to become a great tennis player. To be quick on the tennis court, players have to be able to move fast to the ball but it is also very important to recover fast in order to be ready for the next shot. Different kind of footwork techniques are used by tennis players and this include, quick and small step, forward, sideways and backwards movements. Quickness for tennis needs to include all those different kind of movements and this should be trained regularly.
Some players are naturally quicker and faster than other but agility and quickness can always be improved and this at any level. To be quick it is important to be able to move in any direction with the right technique and this can be done on court or off court with a lot of footwork drills.
During a match, for most of the shots players have to be on the ball in 3 or 4 steps max and they have to be well balanced when they hit the ball. Balance training for tennis is then an other important part to include in fitness training. This can be done by executing drills on unstable surface or on one leg. Quick and small steps will help the players to be set up in the right position and this can be worked by doing quick feet drills around cones.
The first step is the most important in order to be quick on the court and it should be as explosive as possible. A good and explosive first step will make a huge difference while moving to the ball. To be efficient the first step should be done in the direction on the ball. This seems obvious but a lot of players have the tendency to step backwards first in order to be able to push off better on the ground. Stepping toward the ball in an explosive way is one of the key to improve your quickness.
Once the player is on the ball and hit his shot, he needs to get ready for the next one and this is why recovery steps are also very important. A lot of players are quick and explosive but do not recover as fast as they could do. The best footwork technique for recovery steps is to execute a big crossover step and then to use sidesteps to come back to the middle of the court.
Agility training for tennis can be done most of the time on the court. Having the players move to cones and focusing on the right footwork technique. It is very important to be as intense as possible when doing the kind of drills. Coaches can use bungee cords to add some resistance and to work more on the explosive power during the first steps. Moving and sprinting on sand is great mean to improve a tennis player explosive power. If a player is able to be quick on the sand he will be even quicker on the court.
Quickness for tennis should then be worked every week and this could be done before practice as a good warm up. This area can always be improved and even some great tennis players who are quick do not use the right footwork and if they focus on a good and efficient technique they could become a lot quicker. This will allow players to reach a lot more balls but moving well will also help them to safe energy while running back and forth on the court.
Cardio Training For Tennis
Tennis is an activity that can last several hours and a good endurance is very important to perform well. During tournaments players have matches every day and a good stamina will allow them to recover faster and better between matches. A good general endurance is then required for tennis players and this can be improved by jogging, cycling or swimming. This will work the aerobic capacity of a tennis player and this kind of workouts should be done for at least 20 minutes in a row. A good aerobic capacity will allow player to recover better between matches and practice sessions but this is not specific to the activity and more training should be done to really enhance the performance.
Once a player starts to have a good endurance it is important to be more specific to the activity. Tennis requires a good aerobic capacity but anaerobic capacity is even more important. A good anaerobic capacity allows athletes to repeat short and intense efforts throughout a full match or practice. In tennis an average point lasts around 8 seconds and players have 25 seconds of rest between each point. Cardio training for tennis should then target as much as possible.
Interval training will help players to increase their anaerobic capacity and specific endurance. Different means can be used for this. Basic running or biking can be done with the following intervals: 20 seconds very intense followed by 20 seconds of rest. This should be done for 10-15 minutes. The most specific will be to do a very intense effort for less than 10 seconds and to rest for 25 seconds for 10-15 minutes. Both of this kinds of workouts should be done regularly.
Cardio training for tennis could also be done while using specific movements with rackets and even tennis balls. Using short bursts and an adequate recovery will really work the anaerobic capacity that a tennis player needs. Making a circuit training including movements in all the direction and shadows is a great way to improve the endurance. Again use intervals 8 seconds work for 25 seconds rest as much as possible. During this kind of workouts ti is very important to be as intense and fast as possible during the effort.
Going to a track is another great way to increase a tennis player endurance. When doing this kind of work try to use a ratio 1/3 which mean allow 3 times more rest than effort. This will really target the cardio vascular system in the same way than during a tennis match. Interval like 200, 100 meters or even less should be used during track workouts. The closer a player is from a competition the shorter should be the intervals but the higher should be the intensity.
Interval training is a great way to improve a tennis player specific endurance and this should be done on a weekly basis. Basic aerobic training should be used at the beginning and then occasionally. Interval training with shorts and intense bursts will be a lot more specific and helpful. If players work well on this capacity it will be a lot easier to keep a high intensity all the way to the end of the match. The best way is to use running motions but all those intervals can be worked on a bike or even in the pool if the player have some lower body injuries.
Strength Training For Tennis
Tennis players have to be more and more explosive and powerful on the court to keep up with their opponents. The intensity of the practice and matches keep growing and the players open themselves more and more to overuse injuries. Following a specific strength training will help them to become more powerful and explosive but it is also very important to prevent injuries.
Strength training can be started pretty young and it will include exercises with body weight and elastic band. Light strength training can be started at the age of 12 if the player practices over 6 hours a week.
Weight training routines for tennis players should include a total body work and depending of the level this should be done several times a week. After their puberty tennis players could follow a weight training program 3 times a week and at least twice a week. A good strength training program should be divided in different cycles, each of them will lat 4 to 6 weeks.
Tennis players need to be powerful, explosive, strong but they also need to be able to repeat different shots at a high intensity for sometimes hours during a match or practice session. This is called muscular endurance and it is very important for tennis players. Finally but not least strength training is extremely important to prevent injuries. A good weight program should allow players to work on those different areas.
Beginners or at the beginning of the season the strength program should focus more on the anatomical adaptations and on the muscular endurance. This kind be done by circuit training with at least 10 exercises that work on the full body. The player should do at least 20 reps of each exercise and should not take more than 30 seconds rest before going to the next one. Once all the circuit is done once, they should do one more set.
After around 4 weeks the program should focus on the hypertrophy of the muscles and this will be done with less reps, 8 to 12, more weights and 2 to 3 sets per exercise. Again do not forget to work upper and lower body. This should be done for at least 4 weeks.
After this cycle, more weights can be used and 6 reps max should be done per exercise but 3 to 6 sets should be done, with at least 2 minutes rest between each set. For injury prevention exercises as shoulders, wrists or triceps exercises there is no need of going to heavy.
The next cycle should focus a lot more on the explosive power. Exercises should be changed, a lot of jumps or plyometrics and also medicine ball throws should be implemented. Regular weight exercises should still be done with 6 to 10 reps and trying to be explosive during the pushing or pulling phase.
Strength training for tennis players is pretty complex and all of this should be worked in the right way. Following a fitness program for tennis can be really helpful to know how many reps and sets and also what kind of exercises to use in each cycle. It is also very important to work the core strength in all those cycles and this should be done with upper abs exercises (crunches kind), lower abs (leg lifts kind) and obliques exercises (torso twists kind).
Strength training will really help tennis player to become more efficient and to prevent injuries, it should be done regularly at least 2 a week for players who are playing almost everyday. It should also be started for young players, once a week with body weight and elastic bands in order to prepare their body for more weight lifting later.
Flexibility Training For Tennis
A good flexibility can be really helpful on the tennis court. Lower body and upper body flexibility is required for tennis players who are playing at a high level. A lot of shots are executed in extreme range of motions and this could lead to some injuries. If the muscles are strong and flexible enough players will be able to hit efficient shots in extreme lunge positions for example.
Flexibility training will increase the range of motion of the different joints. For example a good range of motion in the shoulder area will allow the players to have more power while they are serving. Flexibility can then enhance performance but it is also very important to prevent injuries. Tight muscles could lead to strains that will limit the performance and could even lead to more important injuries.
Tennis is an activity involving a lot of different kind of movements and dynamic flexibility is then involved in most of the shots. Being able to stretch a muscle at high velocity will allow players to perform a lot better. Dynamic stretching like lunges or straight leg kicks will help to improve this area and this should be done as part as the warm up. Dynamic stretching will get the muscle ready for high intensity practice but it will also help to increase the overall flexibility.
Tennis players do not need to be as flexible as gymnasts but it is still important to work on this area regularly mostly to prevent injuries. A good stretching routine should be included at the end of each practice session or match. Total body stretching will help to recover better but it will also maintain a good flexibility. While stretching for recovery, each stretch should be hold for 30 seconds and all the muscles, upper and lower body, should be worked.
For injury prevention or to enhance performance flexibility training should be part of the tennis training. Easy drills and stretches can be done every day before and after practice. Dynamic stretching should be part of the warm up and static stretching should be done at the end of the day. This should be enough to maintain a good overall flexibility all over the body.