Tennis: From Gym Floor to Hard Court


I hope that everyone’s season has been fun so far.  Whether you are new to the sport or a 20-year veteran, the learning experience never ends.  What have you done to improve your game this year?  Has it improved?  There’s still plenty of great court weather left, so let’s go over a few important aspects of one of our favorite sports.

Sure a new racket, shoes, and visor will have you feeling better about yourself.  But most importantly you need to work on your game.  Learn from your tennis pro to find any holes, they see things that you can’t. Those shortcomings on the court can also be corrected inside the gym with the right training program. The more you play, the more you will understand what this sport demands and what you need to do to be your best.

Tennis is sport of speed, agility, and power.  The game demands constant acceleration and deceleration.  Starting and stopping over and over at every angle humanly possible.  Unlike baseball or golf, swinging a racket is bilateral.  Forehands and backhands require the body to torque from both right and left sides.  There are also 15-20 second bursts of hard work followed by brief rest periods over the course of an hour or two.  If you are a tennis player who wants to improve, your off-court training must take into account these demands.

Training at a gym goes beyond simply addressing tennis skills.  You may be trying to hit the ball harder, but may not have the hip and trunk function to do so.  You may want to approach the net for a softly hit ball but hesitate because of your knees or back get sore when you try to speed up and slow down.  Ever get tennis elbow, bursitis, or a stiff neck after playing?  Guaranteed the rest of your system is not properly trained to support you.  Organized exercises help build a foundation for your skill development.

There are plenty of great exercises you can do. Here are some quick training tips:

  • Always train your body bi-laterally to keep your system balanced.
  • Train chain reactions.
  • Progress from simple exercises to movements specific to the game.
  • Analyze your weaknesses and think about what you need to work on.

There are easy ways to begin to practice acceleration and deceleration in different planes of movement.  Build the connective strength of your hips and abdominal wall to give you the power you want on your stroke.

Our staff routinely teaches how to establish a functional body that is ready to participate in any sport.  We’d be happy to design a tennis specific program for you.  If you need help on how to get started, call us for a consultation.  Keep getting out there!

Sean Fitzpatrick is owner of One2One Bodyscapes in Mamaroneck



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