How Important is Tennis Specific Fitness?

How Important is Tennis Specific Fitness?

One more article about tennis fitness is written by Suzanna McGee. Suzanna is a former Ms Natural Olympia bodybuilding champion, currently nationally ranked tennis player and athletic trainer with focus on sport conditioning and injury prevention.                                                      Her website is

Suzanna McGee

For many tennis players and coaches, “tennis fitness training” means cone drills, sprints between the lines and some running in the grass. Although these activities can be a part of fitness preparation for tennis players, they are far away from tennis specific fitness training.

Tennis is one-sided sport and the demands on the body are tremendous. Most players hit open stance forehands, and choose to hit the forehands much more than their backhands. They hit there backhands with closed stance. Just hitting ground strokes, the right hip gets loaded much more than the left hip, which will over time lead to tightness, stiffness and overuse. Then think about your right shoulder and arm when you add serves and volleys and you can see the problem coming.

To continue this example, the right hip gets overused and tight and the left hip and glute may disconnect over time and not fire correctly, which will lead to other joints compensating and thus being overused. You get aches in the knees or ankles. You see the pattern.

Tennis specific fitness training has to address all these issues, in addition to running fast. The players need to focus on training their core and hips, and get them strong, powerful and explosive. They need to be flexible and evenly balanced on both left and right side. That’s a lot of work to do, if you think how many hours a player spends on the tennis court practicing her strokes and competing.

The older the player is, the bigger the chance that he accumulated many imbalances in the body, and therefore flexibility training is extremely important. A regular stretching routine has to be part of daily training program. In addition, self-myofascial release practice should be a part of the player’s repertoire as often as possible.

The younger players need to focus on developing strength and power so they could handle their growing bodies. Basic full-body exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, burpees and many other plyometric versions are extremely beneficial. The young players need to develop the animal-like quickness and suppleness. Stretching is an important part of the program for the young ones as it is for the older ones.

The adult players who are not as strong and agile as they should be need to work on their athletic power, explosiveness and overall strength as well. It will help them to move lighter and quicker and lessen the stress on the body, thus prevent future overuse injuries.

I often hear the “excuse” that people don’t have time to workout in addition to their tennis, work and family. It is important to figure out the training schedule so some fitness training will fit it. It’s more important than you can even imagine. A good solution is to do a quick, intense workout directly after your tennis practice. You can do 20-30 minutes of high intensity training and if you do that four times per week, you now have total 2 hours of solid training. Everybody can find 20 extra minutes!

For your inspiration, look at this intense short workout that I often do after my tennis practice. Start with that. As you get fitter and stronger and start playing even better tennis, you will become more motivated to do even more.

Remember, even 10 minutes is better than nothing. Start today and see how quickly the results will come.

Interview with Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka lost her #1 ranking after this year’s Roland Garros. She returned to her birthplace of Minsk, Belarus and is currently training there preparing for Wimbledon.

Vika Azarenka. Roland Garros 2012

Today, Vika Azarenka conducted a practice session for junior tennis players on the courts of the Minsk tennis center.

Vika Azarenko in Minsk with kids.

After the practice, she answered a few questions.

Have you started preparing for Wimbledon?

Yes. My coach is coming here tomorrow. I will be training in Minsk.

After Roland Garros you have said that you are a bit tired of tennis, so have you had a chance to get away from the sport in Minsk?

I’ve tried to distract myself somehow. I’ve just been relaxing for a week.

What is more important to you during the Olympics in London, playing singles or playing mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi?

My priority is singles, but I want to succeed in mixed doubles as well. We are also planning to play together at Wimbledon.

What does losing your #1 ranking mean to you?

This is life, things happen. Now I’m number two in the world. But I still have a chance to become #1 again. So this will only give me further motivation to continue my hard work.

Have you congratulated Maria Sharapova when she achieved the number #1 ranking?


How do you explain that lately you’ve been having a tough time in your first round matches?

Easy matches don’t exist. There are many factors. Sometimes there are obstacles, other times there is a tough opponent, while it can also be the difference in your physical conditions. You can’t always play your ideal game. It’s just a sport.

Victoria, are you watching the European soccer championships?

I watch it almost every day. I’m rooting for Spain, since Belarus is not participating. And since I’m pretty patriotic, I always root for my countrymen.

Sports Massage for a Tennis Player

How do you help your kid restore after a hard workout? What do you know about sports massage? Not too much, I guess. When I was a kid and used to do track and field at my school, all my teammates had a sports massage session once a week. For many years, the athletes of the Eastern European countries have included massage as a part of their intensive and continuous training schedule. And they are right because during intensive and hard work outs and competition, muscle strength and endurance of tennis players are pushed to the limit.

Remember how your tennis player feels after four consecutive tennis matches in a weekend’s tournament. I am sure that he doesn’t feel very good because a body has its own limits and needs recovery.

The goal of sports massage is to enhance the athlete’s performance. Performance is regulated by the efficiency, precision, and freedom with which the tennis player is able to move. Efficiency is dependent on training and conditioning. Sports massage permits for more intensive training.

There are four basic types of sports massage. Each kind of sports massage has a different objective and requires a different approach.

  1. Pre-event massage. Massage prior to a match to prepare a tennis player for the exertion of competition.
  2. Post-event massage. Massage after competition to normalize the tissues and relax the tennis player after the tennis match.
  3. Restorative or training massage. Massage during training to allow the tennis player to train harder with fewer injures.
  4. Rehabilitation massage. Massage during rehabilitation to recover from injury more quickly with less chance of reinjury.

When was the last time your junior tennis player got a sports massage? Have you ever thought that sports massage is a part of a tennis player’s training cycle? Some parents can say that it’s “too costly”. But if you pay $60-150 an hour for a tennis private lesson, you definitely have money for one massage session a week for your tennis player.

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Active Rest for the Body and Mind Is the Important Part of a Tennis Training

Active Rest for the Body and Mind Is the Important Part of a Tennis Training

This article is written by Diana Chalikov, owner at DCTP Tennis &Fitness.

Diana Chalikov. Fitness and tennis - Active Rest for the Body and Mind Is the Important Part of a Tennis Training

Active rest for the body and mind is the vital part of tennis training that often goes unseen as part of the overall training process.

There is really only so much that an athlete can do with his body. After that, a tennis player needs to let his body rest while still maintaining good blood flow and circulation. There are ways to rest while still actively working on things, which can be called “active rest”.

During active rest a tennis player is awake, mentally alert, focusing the mind on aiding in the recovery of the body. This also means rebuilding a strong mind-body relationship, by doing things as simple as controlled breathing.

During active rest a player should try to reconnect with the most soft and distance feelings.
An athlete should sit and breathe peacefully and welcome any thought that emerges to the surface of their awareness. When a thought comes into awareness, the thought should be felt, sensed, and given time for emotional processing. We interact with an abundance of information everyday that cannot be processed during full activity.

During dreaming while asleep, we process information in a vital way that is not clearly understood. Regardless to what dreaming actually achieves, active rest can achieve practical things.

For example, during active rest a person may suddenly recall the location of a misplaced item. Or another example might be finally dedicating time to a long neglected minor detail that has been overshadowed by bigger things in the mind.

The exercises that should be included are only the recovery type exercises that improve blood flow. Deep tissue massage and yoga are great for the recovery process.

It’s not just the muscles that need to rest; it’s also the nerves, neurons, and neuroconnections. The brain needs to be able to enter into a calm wakefulness with the lowest heart rate possible.

During levels of high excitement and active training, the brain represses many thoughts. These thoughts require calmness, and are vital to good mental and emotional health. The path to quality emotional well-being is unique for everyone, but is still basically the same.

In summary, active rest is an essential part of any balanced tennis training and fitness regime. Try to incorporate these strategies into your routine and you will be amazed at the benefits you experience.

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Waiting for The 2012 French Open Final

Maria Sharapova won a place in the 2012 French Open final and returned to the world number one with a 6-3 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova in Paris.

Maria Sharapova in the 2012 Roland Garros final

Maria Sharapova in the 2012 The French Open final

Petra Kvitova lost.

Petra Kvitova. The 2012 Roland Garros

Sara Errani reached her the first Grand Slam final. She looks happy.

Sara Errani in The 2012 Roland Garros final

Sara Errani in The 2012 French Open  final

Samantha Stosur is out of Paris.

Samanta Stosur. The 2012 Roland Garros

We’ll see what happens on Saturday. Maria Sharapova is a huge favorite. But do not forget, it is tennis. Nothing is impossible 🙂