How to Prevent Overtraining of Junior Tennis Players

As I already wrote in my previous posts I was very surprised that very few parents and coaches conduct constant control of their tennis players’ health condition. However, I am also not that surprised because I see that there is no regular system regarding control of junior athletes’ health.

I have never heard of junior tennis players who play for 25 and more hours a week at a tennis academy and have regular medical control of their health, including biochemical blood tests and other routine tests which are very common for any junior sportsman in many European countries. My kid did those tests and had a medical evaluation in a specialized sports clinic two times a year.

What’s important to understand is that Sports medicine possesses a huge deal of knowledge that regular physicians are not aware of.


If junior tennis players train for more than 10 hours a week and participate in tournaments on regular basis, then you are supposed to organize some kind of special medicine control for their health.

I’ve never witnessed a situation where a coach tells his player to get a two-three week break from tennis for active rest or suggest a blood test that shows a player’s condition. Maybe I am wrong and some tennis coaches definitely do that, but most ones do not.

There are some simple methods, such as the Ruffier test, which are easily applied to self-control of the very important system of the body – the cardiovascular system. You may do it on constant basis and use its results to plan training cycles for your kid or as a reason to visit a cardiologist or a sports medicine doctor.

There is a fast method for control of the junior tennis player’s condition. It is called the Ruffier index. It analyzes the condition of heart activity during training.  When I was a junior and college sportsman, we always used the method for estimating the current physical condition. It shows you how your organism performs with current training. It shows if an organism is overtrained, if there is a necessity for rest and recovery, as well as indicating other problems with the cardiovascular system of a junior sportsman.

All measurements are conducted in 15 seconds intervals.

  1. Sit down and rest for five minutes. Then measure your pulse in 15 seconds.  It is P1.
  2. Do twenty sits-up in 30 seconds and immediately measure your pulse in 15 seconds in standing position. It is P2.
  3. After that, sit down and after one minute rest, measure your pulse in 15 seconds again.

Formula for getting the result is: J= (4 x (P1+P2+P3) – 200)/10.

If J is less than 0, present adaptation for your training is excellent,
Less than 3 – very good,
3-5 – good,
6-10 – satisfactory,
11-15 – weak,
15 and more – unsatisfactory. Go to the doctor immediately.
Increase in the value of J shows overtraining conditions.

Let’s say, if your P1 is 15, P2 is 25 and P3 is 20. For you J is (4 x (15+25+20) – 200)/10 = 4.
It means that your current condition is good and your body performs well under your current training program.

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How to Prevent Overtraining of Junior Tennis Players — 1 Comment

  1. Couldnt agree more. I feel that modern medicine now does not advocate preventive care. They wait until something goes wrong and see how best to treat the problems. Most of which could have been prevented, if the health of the athlete has been kept up with. Regular health checks and blood test are important. As for taking 2-3 weeks off for a junior is simply unheard of. You are taught that while you are not practicing, and training, your opponent is. You are always worried that the minute you step off the court to take a break you loose valuable time in which you could have gotten better, faster, more consistent. As a junior my coach had told me that taking 2 days off would be the same as taking 10 days off and I would struggle to get back to where I had left off. So taking a break was never an option. A 2 week break to access the players health I believe is crucial in helping the player become that much better, and to prevent their body from deteriorating that much faster.