When we talk about tennis training milestones, tennis fitness testing helps in finding out what physical milestones are important for each tennis player and what milestones are going to motivate them the most. Everyone has different goals, strengths and weaknesses. Working towards something that you would consider a milestone is what it is all about, that’s how you keep yourself moving forward and motivated. Things like finishing off a three-set match feeling strong, getting to balls you never dreamt of, hitting the ball with more power and control, remaining injury free for the calendar year, playing 10 tournaments in a row etc. the list could go on and on. Set some targets and put a plan in place to achieve them.
Here are some tennis exercises to help you improve your physical condition and get you one step closer to reaching your milestones. They will get you stronger, quicker and more powerful, most importantly you can do them, again and again, to see how much you have improved!
1. Metronome Endurance Test (equipment: Metronome, stopwatch, 2 markers) This test will give you a good idea of your endurance base, do it once a week to help get you recovering quicker between points and lasting longer in matches. Try to push as long as you can.
Download any metronome app (which are free) and have it handy. Set the metronome on 14 bpm and have 2 markers placed 10m apart. With one foot behind one marker, start the metronome and stopwatch at the same time. Run down to the other marker timing it so you reach it as it the metronome beeps, turn and continue following this sequence. After 2 min pause momentarily and shift the metronome from 14bpm to 16bpm and keep increasing the metronome every 2mins for as long as you can keep up with the metronome. The test should stop once you feel you cannot keep up (get one foot passed the line) with the metronome beep. Record your time and try repeat every fortnight and aim to improve each time.
2. Squat Jump (equipment: measuring tape, 2 markers) This test looks at dynamic power; it will give you a good indication of your lower body power. Followed regularly you will see your jumping distances improve.
Holding one marker and standing in an athletic position, stand behind the other marker and sit down into a squat. From here jump forward as far as possible, landing softly and without pausing jump forward again, repeat this for a total of 5 jumps. Hold the 5th jump on the landing and place the marker on the back of your furthest heel. Repeat the sequence 4 more times moving the cone if you manage to jump to further. Complete 5 sets, with 45sec rest between each set.
3. Co ordination Wall Throw (equipment: 1 tennis ball, wall, tape measure) This test will show you how your reaction and coordination is going. Do it regularly to improve your reaction and hand-eye coordination.
Measure out a 2m distance from the wall. Stand with both feet behind the line. Holding the ball in one hand, have knees slightly bent. From this position throw the ball against the wall and catch it on the full with the other hand. Repeat this sequence as many times as you can without stopping for 30sec. If you drop the ball, quickly pick it up and continue. Record your score and aim to beat it each session. Complete 3 sets with 45sec rest between each set.
4. Plank Push Up Rotation (equipment: Towel and stopwatch) This test will check out your upper body and core strength. Doing it once a week, you will help boost your strength and power on the court.
Start in a push-up position. Start the stopwatch and drop down into a push-up and when you come back up, lift one arm off the ground and rotate your upper body, extend your arm up. Hold momentarily and drop back down into a push up and repeat for the other side, once you have completed 1 each side, drop down into a plank (forearms on the ground) do this without letting your knees touch the ground, hold the plank for 20sec and then go straight back into the push up rotations again. Continue doing this for as long as possible. When you cannot do anymore, stop the stopwatch and record your score. Complete 2-3 sets to fatigue with a 1min rest between each set.
5. 8m Shuttle Test (equipment: 2 markers, stopwatch) This will test and improve your acceleration/deceleration and change of direction. The goal is to complete 8 forward shuttle runs as quickly and efficiently as you can, between an 8m distance.
Place 2 markers 8m apart. With one foot behind one marker and facing the other. Start by sprinting as fast as possible from one marker to the other and continue to do this without stopping until you have completed 8 sprints (4 each way). Start the timer when you start and stop it when you cross the cone for the last time. Accelerate out of each cone and decelerate using when approaching the cones. Complete 3 sets with 1min between each set.