It is not uncommon to see players focusing on the one percent aspect of their game when they should be focusing on what gives them the greatest improvements.
Sometimes as coaches, tennis trainers, and players, we get caught up in the small things and lose sight of what can give us immediate impactful gains.
The main physical areas that every player needs to focus on are –
Strength and Flexibility/Mobility.
When you get these areas right and you are ineffective and healthy ranges, then you should look to improve other aspects of your physical state.
Improving your Strength, Flexibility/Mobility will give you the best bang for buck!
Following a specific Tennis Strength and Conditioning Program is the best course of action.
One area I see a lot of players struggling with (many are unaware of it) is court balance (Staying balanced when hitting, feeling centered, transferring weight through the shot).
A lot of people, for example, seem to be focusing on what the arm sling is doing and how the arm is positioned, a lot of the time players are not holding a good posture and their balance is not right.
If this is not addressed and corrected a player will not get the most out themselves. Once the body positioning is right and you have enough strength to maintain it, then focus more on the arm sling.
Here is a guide I like to use to encourage players to think about total body movement in regard to hitting, not just using the arm.
Start from the ground up;
- Base position (wide and low)
- Torso position (back straight & brace)
- Rotation (coil and release)
- Arm sling.
That should be the sequence, not the other way around (Arm sling and then move)
Please note - I am not saying to disregard the arm sling and hitting technique. I am saying to prioritize the other factors in order to produce long term gains and help keep players injury-free.
How To Improve Your Court Balance
The fact is a lot of players struggle to hold a wide base, set low, and hold good movement posture. This all leads to poor court balance.
This is due largely to a lack of;
- Lack of flexibility/Mobility.
- Lack of Strength
I honestly see these deficiencies every day in players. I also see first-hand how implementing basic fundamental programming is hugely impactful, even after a few sessions. Combining awareness with the right exercises is the key.
Here are the steps that are needed to improve court balance;
- Create awareness. Body positioning/Posture – From the ground up.
This is the job of a coach and tennis trainer.
- Increase Flexibility/ Mobility Ranges.
Follow a Tennis Specific Flexibility/ Mobility program. At least 3 times per week.
- Improve your Strength. Focus on the Lower body, Shoulder girdle, and Core. At least 2 times per week. Find the right Tennis Strength and Conditioning Program for you (Age and level appropriate)
Doing this will improve your court balance and get you hitting the ball from a much better platform, with more control and accuracy. I guarantee it.
I have included some fundamental exercises that players should be doing to improve their Strength, Flexibility/Mobility. These exercises specific for tennis in the video above are a good starting point for any player.
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