By Shelby Andersson, Ocotillo Village Tennis Pro
Tennis players that are looking to improve the performance out on the court can do so off the court! There is a multitude of traditional workouts that can help players up their game, but it all comes down to strength training. Let’s break it down:
Strength training provides an excellent full body workout that can help tennis players improve their power. On and off court conditioning is an essential part of tennis because matches can sometimes stretch for hours on end! With the proper conditioning through strength training, players can increase their endurance in every area of their tennis game. It’s also a great tool for injury prevention.
For some easy strength training workouts that build endurance, tennis players can add these movements into their regular conditioning:
Short Sprints — Quick short sprints are ideal for building endurance because the movements mirror motions similar to playing on the court. For some sprinting inspiration on the court, sprint from the baseline to the service line and increase from baseline to the net and eventually sprint from the fence to the net. This can be done off court as well. Treadmill sprints can be done in 20 second on/off intervals, then 30 second intervals, then 40 seconds and so on.
Ladder Movements — There are two ways to accomplish this. The single-leg run requires you to run with the balls of your feet touching the ground, with only one foot stepping into each step. Start slow and increase speed gradually. The double-leg run is similar to the single, except you step down in each box with both feet. You can gradually increase your speed, so you stay in control of your movements.
When practicing the footwork of these moves, you’re improving your overall fitness and coordination. These things will translate to better on-court performance. As a very competitive match wears on, you’ll be better physically equipped to endure the long haul while maintaining a high level of play. This in itself can make all the difference in who takes home the win.
Power Improving Moves
Improving power is another key to improving on court performance. Explosive power-based movements are required for the court — many strokes require these moves. For example, a powerful serve begins with an extremely explosive movement. Strength training can also help improve players’ power. Consider these power-improving moves:
Weighed Burpees – These require you to lower yourself to the ground using dumbbells. Keep the dumbbells directly below the shoulders while doing the pushup. Instead of an explosive jump up, stand and raise both dumbbells above your head. Then lower the weights to your side, return to the starting position and repeat.
Squat Jumps – Powerful plyometric exercises that strengthen the entire lower body and significantly raise your heart rate for an effective calorie-torching move. Place your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees to lower yourself as far down into a squat position as you can. Then explosively jump up and swing your arms overhead. Return to the deep squat and repeat.
Frog Jumps – Like squat jumps, they are another incredibly effective plyometric exercise. These jumps work the quads, glutes and hip flexors. This exercise begins much like the squat jump with feet hip-distance apart. Bend deep into a squat with toes turned slightly outward, then take a small “frog leap” forward, landing on your toes in that deep squat position. You guessed it – repeat!
Injury prevention is vital to “staying in the game” and strength training can help promote this. The physical demand and explosive movements of tennis can result in injury over time or if players don’t prep and wind down properly. Before a game or practice, you should always stretch, which helps prevent injuries. Yoga is another great aspect of off-court training that can help with injury prevention through improved flexibility and mobility rotation.
Don’t forget the power of working with a personal trainer at the Village! Our certified personal trainers are skilled in a variety of sports, including tennis. Many of our trainers have trained professional tennis athletes and are highly equipped with the knowledge to train the targeted muscles and to build power for the strong, explosive movement required for a great game. So stop in today and chat with a personal trainer to see how we can help improve your on-court performance!