I fell in love with tennis only a couple of years ago, but it was my exposure to some of the top tennis coaches in the country that made me appreciate how quickly someone can improve with the right fitness routine.
The Uniqueness of Tennis
Tennis is a wonderful sport because it utilizes speed, agility, quickness, balance, strength, power, and endurance. It can be a wonderful workout just playing a game. It would make sense that when you workout, you train your body to improve on each of those things. However, few people workout in a way that enhances each of those skills.
Balance – When you hit a difficult shot, it’s important that you are able to stabilize as quickly as possible. Struggling with balance slows down your recovery time and increases your chance of injury (more on that in a moment). Incorporating balance activities in to your routine is easy to do and can make a significant difference in your ability to get back in position quickly.
Speed – When the ball is coming back to you, your ability to get to the ball is crucial. Whether is goes over your head or down the baseline, how quickly you get there makes a big difference on your ability to return the ball.
Agility – You need to be able to change directions and get back in position quickly. Working on footwork drills during your fitness routine is a great way to burn more calories and move better on the court.
Quickness – It’s no secret that when you are playing against a hard hitter, you need to be able to react quickly. Focusing on this during your workout routine makes sense, unfortunately few people work on it.
Strength – While strength isn’t always the most important ability to have on the tennis court, it’s obvious that it is helpful. Not just on the tennis court, but also for muscle definition when trying to obtain a lean physique.
Power – Accuracy is extremely important when returning the ball to your opponent, but accuracy with power can be deadly. Within your current fitness routine, are you incorporating power based exercises? It can make a world of difference.
Endurance – When the game is lasting longer than you expect, you need to have the endurance to keep playing at 100% of your ability. Being able to survive the whole game is important, but being able to play at your peak ability the whole time can give you a chance to wear down and beat your opponent.
Core/Rotational Power – Core exercises does not mean crunches. It means that you can rotate your spine without compensating with other muscle groups.
Recovery – When you get into an extended rally, you need to be able to recover quickly. When you are fatigued, that is when you are more likely to make a mistake. By working on your heart rate recovery, you can recover twice as fast between extended rallies.
Work on Tennis Weaknesses
You may not be the best player on the court, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot improve. What kind of difference would it make if you could move easier on the court? When you work on your weaknesses during your fitness routine, you will be able to improve your tennis ability. It really is that simple. If you have never been through a tennis specific workout routine, you do not realize what you are missing.
Avoiding Tennis Injuries
Tennis injuries happen all the time, and the crazy thing is that most of them are avoidable. It is not hard to make yourself injury resistant. I work with injuries all the time, so let me explain briefly.
- Shoulder injuries could be reduced by posterior shoulder girdle strengthening.
- Back pain injuries can be reduced with flexibility, core strength, and hip strengthening/stabilization.
- Knee injuries can be reduced by glute strengthening, medial quad development, and lateral quad flexibility.
- Ankle injuries can be avoided by incorporating basic stability exercises into your routine.