Developing your body for elite tennis is an ongoing process which needs to be planned and monitored. Tennis has no real off season, so as a result, players must continue to develop their physical strength, flexibility, mobility, agility, balance and core during competition play.
So what can we learn from the Pro’s?
Watch this great video of Andy Murray working with his fitness coach Jez Green on deceleration and stabilization exercises after a practice session during the BNP Paribas Open.
“These are very important drills/exercises for every tennis player (junior, collegiate, professional, adult recreational etc). Most people spend excessive amounts of time working on acceleration and getting faster, but more time needs to be spent on deceleration and stabilization.” International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA).
So what can the junior player learn from the video? Even the Pro’s do these hurdle, ladder, balance and stabilizing exercises. You will also note Andy’s concentration while doing the exercises. They may look simple and easy, but why don’t you give them a go.
Developing a junior players body balance and core will not only increase their power, movement & speed etc but will help with injury prevention.
Another great tool for developing Strength in junior players is the Medicine Ball. The following is a great article from the expects at ITPA.
Strategy used to play tennis has undergone a dramatic change within the last 20-30 years. One of the biggest changes is the difference in the need for powerful groundstrokes. The core of groundstrokes has transferred from flat and slice shots to a heavy topspin, high paced baseline game. Conventional groundstrokes were hit predominantly from a square or closed stance, but more and more groundstrokes are hit from semi-open and open stances on both the forehand and backhand strokes. In addition to the changes in stances is the increase in racket head speed due to better understanding of how to summate forces and transfer energy from the ground, up through the kinetic chain and out into the ball.
Synchronized coordination is what you think of when you are watching an old school tennis match. The player’s strokes seem very rigid and structured. They have stiff arms and their whole body follows one motion. Sequential coordination has many movements and actions taking place. The first actions are in the legs and the force they generate from the ground. This energy moves up the body and is transferred to the shoulder by rotation of the hips and trunk. From the shoulder, the energy moves to the elbow, the wrist, and then the racquet head.
Referer: http://www.justmommieood sound technical knowledge about tennis strokes is very important for both the tennis coach as well any individual who works with tennis athletes from a physical perspective.
Here are some exercises to increase strength in tennis specific techniques for groundstrokes.
1. Medicine Ball Deep Groundstroke – To create greater force off the ground and to lean into deep shots behind the baseline this drill is perfect. To simulate a deep defensive forehand, have the player start on the service mark. The trainer should toss a medicine ball to the right of the player 3-5 feet behind him/her. The player should retreat back to catch the ball in the same motion as the stroke. After catching the ball, players forcefully throws the ball back mimicking the stroke of a deep forehand or backhand.
2. Medicine Ball Short Groundstroke – To practice moving to and hitting short mid-court balls. Have the player start on the center service mark. The trainer should toss a medicine ball to the right or left of the player 3-5 feet in front him/her. The player should advance forward to catch the ball in the same motion as a stroke. After catching the ball, players forcefully throws the ball back mimicking the stroke of a short aggressive forehand or backhand.
3. Medicine Ball Wide – To help create greater power from an open stance groundstroke. Have the player start on the center service mark. The trainer should toss a medicine ball to the right or left of the player about 5 feet from him/her. The player should shuffle sideways to catch the ball in the same motion as a stroke. After catching the ball, players forcefully throws the ball back mimicking the stroke of an open stance forehand or backhand.
4. Medicine Ball Wall Open Stance – The athlete starts 5-8 feet from a solid wall. Focus on loading the hips and stretching the obliques in an open stance. Rotate the hips as the medicine ball is released as hard as possible at the wall.
5. Wrist Roller – This is important to increase forearm strength, flexion, and extension. Using a wrist roller device, have the athlete grab the device and extend his/her arms out at shoulder height. Slowly lower the weight by flexing and extending the wrist. Once it has reached the ground reverse the process till the weight is at the starting position.