How Can I Peak For My Next Tournament?

How important it is to periodise your training for tennis?
Periodisation 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 (off season)

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) 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, 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. Match play 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 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.

Transition
This is a time for players to rest and recover, with little to no time on 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 periodisation 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 periodisation 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 speaking 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

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