Before participating in any organized sport, players should see their doctor for a pre-participation physical exam.
When developing a tennis training program, it is important to get fit to play the sport, not play the sport to get fit. Many players attempt to play themselves into shape, which is not the best way to maximize performance. Although court time should have top priority, incorporating resistance and cardiovascular training will take a player’s game up a notch.
C ardiovascular Training
- An athlete in good condition is less likely to be injured. Interval training several times a week can increase a tennis player’s fitness level, while also adapting the body to the frequent stop-and-go action of the sport.
- Cross-train by playing other sports. Choosing low impact sports such as swimming or biking is a great way to enhance cardiovascular fitness, without placing additional strain on muscles and joints.
- When a player is tired, their attention span often lessens, allowing more room for errors. Endurance training can prepare players for the long game times.
- Lifting weights will help build the strength needed to add pace to shots. It can also help build the grip strength necessary for maintaining control of the racket.
- Strength training has been shown to boost metabolism. Training using high repetitions and a low weight can add strength without bulk.
- Tennis players typically have a dominant side. Weight training can correct some of the imbalances that develop on the courts as a result of favoring one side over the other.
Technical Skill and Ability
- Tennis is fairly unpredictable—the ball can come from anywhere and go anywhere with a variety of velocities and spins. Training for fast reaction time is critical and should be incorporated into a training program.
- Drills that work on foot speed and placement should be performed as a routine element of warm-up. Players should be instructed to move in both forward and backward directions.
- Decisively place the ball. When training, practice calling out where you intend for the ball to land prior to hitting the shot. This is a good way to perfect placement strategies in match play.