Welcome to the Superfit Tennis Blog
Why do you think that Manny Diaz has had an amazing record as Men’s Head Tennis Coach at the University of Georgia for the past 20+ seasons. Why do so many top players want to go there? Well, there are many reasons, but one thing is for sure…HIS SUCCESS IS DEFINITELY NO ACCIDENT. Since this video was posted on youtube, perhaps all of the coaches who still have their players run for many miles can learn from this video. This is how you do it!!! Repeated short agility is the name of the game if you actually want to be able to get to the ball and build tennis specific endurance. If anyone wants to debate me on this topic, I will be glad to do so. I just don’t want to be too scientific and long-winded here.
In our last blog post, we established that the most important reason for participating in training is to prevent injuries. Perhaps the second most important reason for training is the mental strength benefits you obtain. When a player improves their speed, quickness, agility, and endurance there are some definate psychological advantages for the player and disadvantages for their opponents. Advantages for the physically improved player include the ability to retrieve more balls and recuperate quicker between long matches and points. When a player is able to recuperate better and feel fresher throughout long matches they are able to concentrate better througout the match and they do not have to feel a sense of urgency. When players are not tired, they can think better and do not need to go for desperate shots in a feeble attempt to end points quickly. That usually equates to going for winners when one in in a defensive position. That for broke end the points as quick as possible strategy rarely works and usually equates to a quicker loss. When a player is able to run faster and chase down more balls during a match they may actually shrink the court for the other player. When a player plays against an excellent retriever, they oftentimes play out of their comfort zone and feel as if they have to hit balls closer to the lines. This usually leads to self-destruction!
Bottom line…………………..There are many advantages for you and disadvantages to your opponent when you are able to run down balls and feel fresher. It is not just about how good your strokes are!!!
Former top 100 ATP player Jeffrey Salzenstein is simply taking tennis movement and technique to a whole different level than most people are used to. This is the real deal! He shows you technique for the run through forehand while keeping good balance. No more stepping and stopping. As an aside, Jeffrey looks pretty darn good as a righty. Must have been all of the non-dominant side forehands he hit as practice for his 2-handed backhand. He is really a lefty!!!
Until recently, I did not realize how much of a positive effect a fitness program for tennis had on one’s ability to have the endurance and focus that is necessary to get the most out of their technical training. Several players, parents, and coaches informed me of this benefit. When one participates in a fitness program for tennis everything appears to snowballs in a positive manner. Besides the obvious increased fitness for tennis, everyone becomes quite pleased about the improved technical results coming from the players increased focus, physical capability, and less need for breaks during technical training sessions.
Improve Endurance? No!
Improve Power? No!
Improve Agility? No!
Improve Speed? No!
Improve Quickness/Footwork? No!
Before you write a bunch of f-bombs about me and my blog, let me explain to you that all of the aforementioned focal points of performance enhcncement are very importent for one’s game improvement, but “Injury Prevention Training” must be the #1 priority and is absolutely the most impotant tennis success factor. Keep in mind that one should do injury prevention training aka “Prehabilitation” in order to prevent injuries and at the very least help one recover much quicker from an injury. Yes, strengthening ones bones, tendons, and other connective tissue will keep away those nagging injuries.
Off the top of my head, the following are the most common areas of the body that can get injured while playing tennis:
(I wrote the above list quickly, and am sure to have left a few areas out!)
Just make sure that while you are improving your fitness, you are also focusing on keeping your body healthy throughout the year.
Please note that since there are really no built-in off weeks from competition in tennis, it is important that several strategic “off periods” are included in ones yearly schedule. These off periods are an excellent time for doing game improvement skill training as well as strength and conditioning for tennis.
In general, most people would agree that speed or distance over time is an important component to tennis court coverage. What many people do not agree on is whether or not an athlete can be trained to achieve great speed. It is definitely true that some athletes are naturally faster and stronger than others because of the length of their limbs, muscle attachments, and amount of white/fast-twitch muscle fiber they possess. I can testify to the fact that on many occasions I have both witnessed and strength coaches have told me about situations of untrained athletes being faster or stronger than trained athletes. While it is true that not all players have the genetic makeup to become Olympic caliber speedsters, with proper training all players can and will significantly improve their own speed and strength capabilities. Now, it is time to focus on the two most basic elements of tennis speed.
In this article, the two general components of speed (distance over time) that will be looked at are stride length and stride frequency. Stride length is the distance covered in one stride while running. In order to increase the length of a stride, maximum force during sprints must be increased. Stride length can be increased through resistance training such as weight training, sled or tire pulling, running uphill, running with weighted vests, plyometrics, elastic cord resisted runs, running with chutes, harness/cord resistance etc. Stride frequency is the number of steps taken over a specific distance or time. In order to improve stride frequency, sprint assisted training such as running downhill or cords that pull the athlete may be used.
When performing drills for stride length and stride frequency it is of utmost importance to make certain that proper running form is not sacrificed. During stride length training, stride frequency must be kept at normal levels and during stride frequency training; stride length must be kept at normal levels. Therefore, the fitness for tennis coach should make sure that the overspeed devices or resistances used are not too great or too heavy for the athlete.
Please note that for this article we have only placed our focus on getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. This absolute measure of tennis speed is only one basic element of getting to tennis balls faster. There are many aspects of court coverage that must be looked at when developing a fitness program for tennis. Along with raw speed, some tennis footwork court coverage necessities are reaction, agility, anaerobic conditioning, first step explosiveness, balance, and flexibility. All of those aforementioned tennis footwork elements should be focused upon and enhanced for a physical conditioning program for tennis program to be most effective.
Jeff S. shows you perfect approach shot technique with the run through forehand. Anyone who is familiar with Jeff’s playing style knows that this former top 100 player on the ATP tour can get into the net and finish off points with a big volley. Don’t be surprised when this guy becomes the next big coach. He has a real grasp on both modern tennis technique and footwork.
No better way than to get an introduction from Dr. Robert S. Weinberg. He was one of my favorite graduate school professors and has more Sports Psychology credentials than 99.9% of all others on the planet. He is also a heck of a tennis player and author of a timeless sports psychology for tennis book entitled “The Mental Advantage: Developing Your Psychological Skills in Tennis. Even though this book was from 1987, it is excellent and I would highly recommend it for those wanting a mental edge for tennis.
During this video, Dr. Patrick Cohn does an ALMOST PERFECT job of explaining why “Trying To Be Too Perfect” can negatively affect one’s tennis. He explains that setting expectations too high can lead to frustration. Also, when one tries and expects to always hit perfect stroke, frustration is inevitable. For the perfectionist, focus is usually set too much on stroke technique instead of strategy and just “letting go” and playing the game.
Listen to the advice Dr. Cohn gives about not expecting to hit perfect strokes and making any errors during the match. If you are one of those people who expects to be perfect during matchplay then look at the video shown below. The video shows some of the best players of all time hitting some of the worst shots of all time. Not only did these guys miss, but they hit some embarrassingly bad shots. Guess what? Even with those misses, they are the best of all time! If you expect perfection, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment and failure.
No player if perfect video sportspsychologytennis.com Patrick cohn