Fitness Testing for Tennis

Bellbottoms were the trend of the 70’s, big hair was the trend of the 80’s, cell phones were the trend of the 90’s, and now the trend is “the fitness test”.  Fitness testing for tennis players is becoming trendy and every self proclaimed expert or Joe Schmoe is giving them.  It is great that players are being tested in the areas of fitness that are specific to tennis (flexibility, power, quickness, speed, agility, balance, and anaerobic/aerobic endurance), however these test are not being utilized to it’s maximum potential. 

Tennis players are being compared to other players in their age group, and are scored on a “poor” to “excellent” continuum for each fitness area based on their test performances.  It is acceptable to show players what their current physical strengths and weaknesses are, but this is not enough. What is a player supposed to do once they are given their evaluation scores?  What specific exercises should the players choose to do in order to bring up their weaknesses and enhance their strengths?  How many sets and repetitions does the player need to do?  What should the order of exercises be?  How many days a week and how long should each training session last? These are the questions that a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has a great familiarity with functional training for tennis can help you with. 

It is unfortunate that many athletes who take these tests hire unqualified trainers or just try to train themselves. When the aforementioned choices are made, the best case scenario can be stagnation and the worst case scenerios can be either burn out, or injury.  The reverse end of the spectrum is the athlete who under trains, thus not achieving needed results.  For these reasons, your Conditioning Specialist will consider such factors as biological age, level of present physical conditioning, practice and tournament schedules, and specific goals when prescribing exercise.   In other words, the player can use the test as a guide to help them begin, or enhance an existing exercise regime.

Next time you take a fitness test, make sure that the person administering the test can help you to formulate a fitness for tennis game plan from the test results.  If this is not the case, we strongly urge you to NOT take the test at all.

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