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Tennis Strength Training For Kids

May 08, 2024
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Tennis Strength training for kids is one area that we are always getting questions about.

“When should kids start lifting weights, what exercises should kids be doing, how much should kids be doing”? These are some common questions we receive about strength training for kids. You may be someone needing some guidance in this area yourself. 

If you work with young players, it is important to get their off-court training right. Having a strong, flexible, and robust athlete is what is needed if you want to get the most out of any player.

Strength is the building block for every other aspect of physical development (speed, power, agility, endurance, etc). Junior tennis players need to get stronger to prevent injuries and boost performance. This is the first and most important fundamental for junior development in our opinion. This is the number one reason we developed our "Online Junior Tennis Strength and Conditioning Programs"

Over the past 20 years, we have seen the need for parents and players to understand how to train the right way for strength gains. It can be challenging knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to progress tennis strength training for kids.



If you want to prevent injuries, have more power, and recover quicker, then getting stronger is the best thing you can do. Having a strong, stable body is like building a house on a solid foundation, it is crucial for long-term success! Most parents and players think working on their speed and agility is the priority, but we can let you in on a little secret, the priority needs to be on getting stronger.

Build the strength foundation. Speed and agility (SA) will improve without having to run around cones or do sprints, Speed and agility training will be incorporated at the right time. If you want to get training right for a young player and progress their training effectively, minimizing the risk of injury whilst boosting their physical game - Check out this tennis-specific, age-appropriate junior program here. Get your training right! 


Before junior players start training for strength gains, there are a few things we need to go over! Learning this is one of the most critical components of off-court training.

At ‘Tennis Fitness’ we recommend all young players aged 8 and above start out by performing these:


6 Strength Fundamentals

  1. Squat 
  2. Lunge
  3. Push
  4. Pull 
  5. Rotate
  6. Bend

When young players can consistently complete all the 6 movement patterns, with good form, only then should their junior tennis strength program progress.

Performing these basic fundamental strength exercises on a regular basis will give young tennis players a great platform to build on in the future. It is the best way to educate them on good functional biomechanics and help prevent tennis injuries.  

Strengthening these movements will enable athletes to move better, have more power, and recover more effectively. It is especially important for young athletes to understand and be consciously aware of these movement patterns.

When they start lifting load (weight training) if they do not have these fundamentals down, it can be detrimental to their long-term success and injury rate. As young athletes physically develop we need to ensure they are moving symmetrically and strengthening the right areas of their bodies.

Tennis Strength Training For Kids

Watch this free video and check out how to perform the “Fundamental Movements



Once you have watched the video you will have a better understanding of the basics of strength training and the methodology behind what we do at Tennis Fitness. You may be asking "So when can a young player start lifting weights" Through our experience of over 25 years working with tennis players we can give you some guidance on how to work this out. 


1. Age: This relates to the chronological age of the player, and how old they are in years. As a general guide players under the age of 13 years need to be careful lifting weights and their focus first should be building up the "Fundamental Movements" using resistance bands and body weight. In saying that the next 2 points below will shed further light on whether a player under 13 can lift any load. 


2. Physical maturity: A young player's physical development can differ dramatically from player to player. You can get a 12-year-old who is heavily developed and they look more like a 14-year-old. On the other side, you can get a 14-year-old who looks more like a 12-year-old. Would we train both players the same? The answer is no way.

The physical maturity of a player plays the biggest part in working out what and how a player should be doing for their strength training. We do not want to overload a slow-developing body too early and we do not want to under-train a body that has gone through an early growth period.  


3. Training experience: This area relates to how much exposure and time a player has spent following the right Tennis Strength Training. If a player has practiced and understands the fundamental movements and they have over 2 years of experience doing regular strength training then their training age would be 2 years.

We generally gradually progress players' loads up over a 2-year period until they get to a point where their knowledge and exposure enable them to lift a load. 

So in conclusion, to make sure you are not overloading or underloading a young player you need to take the above 3 points into consideration. If a player is 13 years and above, they are physically developed, and can perform all the fundamental movements effectively using body weight and resistance bands then I would suggest they start lifting some light loads. It is best to start with light medicine balls and kettlebells. No more than 5% of their body weight.

You need to make sure you are following a structured program that is age specific and we always recommend players see a qualified strength and conditioning coach to at least make sure they are getting the fundamental movements done correctly. 

At Tennis Fitness, we know how challenging it is to get training right for developing young players. We know the journey and are here to help. So reach out to us for some guidance and support if you need it. Click here to get in touch

Read more 👉 Junior Tennis Strength Training