Why Is Improving Your Tennis Game Off The Court Important?
Every good tennis player trains well on the court, but if you want to be a great tennis player you have to train well off the court. What if you could improve your fitness and take your game to a whole new level without touching a racket?
It’s often difficult to find the exact routine or exercises that benefit YOU the most both in and out of tennis season. Almost all exercises can be separated into three categories: strength building, maintaining, and mobility. Luckily, most of these categories interlock, hitting more than just one of the groups.
By the end of this article, you will be able to combine these three categories to improve your tennis game off the court!
Know Your Weaknesses & Turn Them Into Strengths
Before you can find the perfect exercises / workouts, you have to know what you’re lacking in. Knowing your weaknesses and turning them into strengths will help you improve your tennis game tremendously. Every tennis player should focus on the 3 training groups during and out of season.
However, when you’re out of season, you should focus on recovery from the previous season and preparation for the next. Keep in mind that during the off-season, you should start with very light weight and progressively work up to heavier weight as the beginning of your season nears.
After you figure out what you’re lacking in, use that to determine how to best utilize the exercises from each category.
*A few things to remember before doing any physical activity is to always warm-up with a light jog, bodyweight exercises, or a dynamic stretch. Also, after you have completed your workout, make sure to cool down with a jog or by stretching.
Core strength in tennis players is essential for several reasons: a strong core will keep your body stabilized, while also positively affecting the power of your serve and groundstrokes through the energy transferred from the ground, to your core and arm, and ultimately your racket.
- Bear Crawls
- Butt Lifts
- Reverse Crunches
- Windshield Wipers
- Russian Twists
Aside from improving movement and balance, lower-body exercises increase the power of your shots since the kinetic chain involved in proper stroke production starts from the ground up. Better weight transfer can be achieved along with injuries being prevented.
- Overhead Med Ball Slams
- Single-Leg Squats
- Squat Jumps
- Sprints are an important part of every tennis athlete’s training. Ideally, you should train at 80-90% of your maximum intensity for 30-90 seconds, and rest for about three times as long as you sprint. This replicates what a tennis player endures, in terms of rest/recovery ratio, during a match.
- Vertical Jumps
It is important that a tennis player’s shoulders, upper-arms, and chest are trained and strengthened properly. The upper-body is responsible for the execution and follow through of all shots and serves.
- Bench Press
- Single Arm Dumbbell Rows
- Resistance Bands
- Lat Pulldowns
- Seated Rows
- Core Chest Press
- Bicep Curls
- Lying Tricep Extensions
- Standing Overhead Tricep Extensions
Although many people overlook mental strength as a part of strength building, it is very important for tennis players. Without teammates, or often coaches, tennis can be a lonely sport that the mentally strong often win.
- Think Positively
- Meditate Regularly
- Use Imagery Of Success
- Push Your Limits A Few Times A Month
- Develop A Sense Of Commitment
- Improve Adaptability & Flexibility
A healthy diet is the only way of maintaining the strength you’ve built. A balanced diet for tennis players should include carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, and water.
- During the season, and mainly 2-3 hours before matches, you should be eating a carbohydrate-rich diet to utilize nutrients during your match.
- During the off-season, when you’re less active, you should decrease (but not remove) your carbohydrate intake, and increase your protein intake. When trying to gain lean muscle mass or cut off body fat in the off-season, place more of an emphasis on protein, ideally under the guidance of a dietitian.
Running long distances improves your endurance, which every tennis player needs. Tennis matches are by no means quick to end, and with that in mind, training and maintaining endurance will improve your tennis game for the long haul.
Staying mobile is vital for on-court success. Not only does it improve your tennis game, but it also reduces the risk of injuries. Increasing your range of motion in different muscles will allow you to improve in every area of training. For example, a wider range of motion in your shoulder will enable you to have more power while serving.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Piriformis Stretch
- Lunges w/ Spinal Twist
- Triceps Stretch
- Figure Four Stretch
- 90/90 Stretch
If you want to know how to do any of the above listed exercises, make sure to check out this website.
- Myofascial Foam Rolling
- Stretch Bands
*A few tips when doing these exercises are to learn to breathe properly, vary your stretching (dynamic, static, ballistic, etc…), take time to relax, stay hydrated, and always prioritize a full range of motion. If you do these five things, you will achieve more with your workout.
So, here is a recap of how to improve your tennis game off the court:
You can improve your tennis game off the court by focusing on strength building, maintaining strength, and mobility exercises.
Tennis players can improve their strength by focusing on core, lower-body, and upper-body exercises. Additionally, don’t forget to work on your mental strength.
Tennis players can maintain their strength by eating clean, healthy diets and running to improve cardio.
Tennis players can improve their mobility by focusing on flexibility exercises and by doing yoga.
If you’re interested in more ways to avoid injuries and improve your fitness for tennis, here are some great articles!
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