How important it is to periodize your training for tennis?
Periodization is simply, structuring on and off-court tennis training into phases or blocks of time.
The basic phases include:
• Preparation (general and specific)
• Competition (pre-competition and competition)
• Transition (offseason)
Each phase focuses on different aspects of tennis fitness and tennis conditioning (cardio endurance, strength, power, tennis speed, agility, and recuperation) in conjunction with on-court work, specific for the phase.
Here is a brief explanation of each phase.
Preparation (General and Specific)
General: High training volume/ low intensity. Focus is on endurance and strength. Training can be general and non-tennis specific at the start of the phase (cross-training) a good time to work on tennis technique. Ratio 30:70.on court : off-court training Phase length: 4-6 weeks.
Specific: Low volume/High intensity. Focus on more specific tennis training variables (anaerobic endurance, tennis speed, and power endurance) this is a good time to work on fine-tuning technique and match strategy ratio 50:50. on court : off-court training. Phase length: 3-6 weeks.
Competition (Pre competition and competition)
Pre-competition: Low volume/High intensity. Focus is on power endurance, agility and speed. Matchplay and individualized fine-tuning of technique and mental preparation. During this phase, the focus will shift from off-court tennis training to predominately on-court tennis training. Ratio 70:30.on court : off-court training. Phase length: 2-4 weeks.
Competition: This phase is all about physically peaking. Very low volume/high intensity. Maintain a tennis fitness level and fine-tune physical capabilities. On court, sessions should be match specific (high quality) off-court sessions should consist of; circuit training, tennis power endurance, agility, and reaction. Phase length is dependent on the level of the player and the tournament schedule they are following.
This is a time for players to rest and recover, with little to no time on the court. Players can engage in other sports at a moderate level. During this phase, players may often feel guilty about not hitting, but the rest and recovery they are getting will help them prepare for the workload ahead and give them the opportunity to assess the past and set goals and plan for the future. It’s all about getting the right balance. Phase length: 1-3 weeks.
So how will a periodization plan benefit your tennis game?
1. Reduces the risk of overtraining (burnout)
2. Injury prevention
3. Performance peaking
4. Motivates players
5. Stops players getting stale and bored
6. Educates players on what and when to do certain training for tennis
Some important notes to consider when planning a periodization plan;
1. Decide when you want to be peaking (goal setting)
2. Quality not quantity especially when in pre/competition phases.
3. Conduct tennis fitness testing (annually as a minimum) best to do it prior to the preparation phase and then retest. It is important to continually add variety into tennis fitness training, along with altering the volume (amount of time training), intensity (how hard a player trains), frequency (how often a players trains) and the specificity (tennis-specific/Non-tennis specific).
Due to the fact that tennis tournaments run almost year-round, it is important to pick tournaments or blocks of tournaments you need to be peaking for. It is not realistic to think you can peak all year round.
Planning your training around your ideal peak times will keep you motivated, have you better physically prepared and keep you injury-free. That all leads to better results.
For help designing a periodization plan, contact us