If you were old enough to have seen tennis being played over the last 20 years, you would have noticed the rapid rate of development that has occurred. Even in the last 5 years, there has been a big jump in the physicality of the game.
The factors that have created these changes are; Technology advancement (tennis training equipment, rackets, strings, tennis clothing, court surface) Sports science (supplementation, tennis fitness programs) Tennis Nutrition and Hydration (Sports drinks, sports specific eating plans, better knowledge, and understanding) I have found there are few things that stand out for the players that have endured and acclimatized the best to the current game.
Players are looking at tennis a lot more holistically. There is a strong sense of balance and getting what I call the Work: Rest ratio right. It is not just about hitting loads and loads of tennis balls anymore. Having quality across the board has more emphasis placed on it. This involves having a balanced training plan, a plan that involves; Tennis practice/tournaments, nutrition/hydration plan, tennis strength and tennis training plan, and most importantly an injury and prevention/recovery plan.
Players are constantly working on preventing tennis injuries. Doing what we call “Prehabilitation” (keep the tennis injuries away or old injuries at bay) Prehab training is much better than doing Rehab training. Once you are doing rehab training, you are injured and often out of action, motivation drops and so do your skills whilst you’re waiting to get better.
Tennis Injuries end most careers, whether it is a weekend hacker, junior athlete or professional. Overuse injuries are most common in tennis and a lot of them can be prevented (with the right mindset) The way the game is advancing players need to be constantly looking for ways to recover better and work smarter to help keep them on court longer. I can speak from personal experience from working with some of the top tennis players….that most have strict recovery and prehab plans, they know the benefits that come with feeling fresh and injury-free.
The 1% Factor
Have you heard of it? Good chance you have. So what does it mean? The smart players are always looking for ways to get better and better, they are looking for opportunities to improve even by 1%. They know that if they can get 5 x 1% factors, they can improve their abilities, recovery, etc by 5%, that’s massive!
Everyone has the ability to improve, even Roger Federer! Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Realizing what these are and focusing on the most important things is a good place to find your 1% factors. For some, it will be getting a recovery plan together and for others, it may be technical advice or even losing some weight to feel lighter and move better on the court. Don’t do what most people do and focus on your strengths, they will only get you so far, you will stay where you are and you are better than that, right? Look to improve on the weaknesses, whatever they are, improving them will get you far greater improvements and give you more self-confidence.
If you want to constantly improve, then look for ways to change and allow yourself to be consistently evolving. Some players have been training and practicing the same way the whole career. The game of tennis stops for no one, it is on the move 24/7 and it is evolving at a rapid rate, we should all aim to do so as well. Why not- I say. Learn, Apply, Learn, Apply, Learn, Apply…
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