A well-designed, in-home strength training program can work wonders for your tennis game. Tennis has evolved from a technical, tactical game to a fast paced, explosive sport. Tennis requires motor skills such as power, strength, agility, speed, balance, endurance and explosiveness. The movements on a tennis court resemble all of the 7 Primal Patterns, ™ which are lunging, squatting, twisting and bending, pushing, pulling and gait. These movements place high demands on a tennis player’s body, which can result in muscle imbalances and injuries. Take the serve for example. To hit a serve, a player must squat, twist, push, bend and lunge. This is performed on the same side of the body, over and over and can result in tight chest and shoulder muscles, as well as tight quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors. These muscles are usually tighter on one side of the body, which results in further imbalances. According to Mark Wellington, trainer of the number 2 ranked Victoria Azarenka, her shoulders and chest were very tight and rounded and her upper back was weak when they first started training. This is a typical scenario for many tennis players who do not utilize a balanced training program. It is much easier to get injured when these muscles get too tight. For tennis players, this often results in a rotator cuff or shoulder injury that can take months to rehabilitate.
It is also extremely important for tennis players of all levels to have a strong, functional core. Research shows that the core is activated before you even swing the racket, so having a strong core is essentially like having a strong foundation which stabilizes the whole body. Once the whole core is strong, it is much easier to move around the tennis court with speed, balance and confidence without worrying about your alignment and form.
Adopting an effective exercise program that includes strength and balance training along with a corrective stretching program will greatly improve your game and your ability to avoid injuries. At Hellman Holistic Health, we provide customized full-body assessments for tennis players and anyone who wants to determine which muscles need strengthening and which need stretching followed by personal in-home visits to ensure you reach your goals. By working closely with clients in their homes, I will help them to become a stronger, more confident athlete and a better all-around tennis player.