Tennis Fitness

Tennis Fitness Questions

How is your movement? Are there certain movements that you do better than others?

How is your speed, agility and footwork?

How much endurance do you have?

Do you need to increase your strength and power?

How flexible are you?

How can you improve in terms of nutrition?

Activities To Become Stronger

Strength – strength training with weights in the gym

Flexibility – stretching exercises

Power – plyometric exercises including jumping and medicine ball throwing exercises

Speed and agility – sprints, shuttle runs, agility drills, footwork drills

Endurance – sprints, shuttle runs, footwork drills, aerobic exercises

Nutrition – modify your diet accordingly. 

Tennis Strokes

Tennis Stroke Questions

What are the shots that you hit well?

What are the shots that are inconsistent?

What are the shots that you struggle with?

What situations or conditions help you or hinder you from hitting your shots well?

Activities To Become Stronger

Work on Serve Pronation 

  1. Hold your racket in your hitting arm. Your arm should be straight out in from of you with your palm facing up. This is called supination
  2. Simply turn your hand upside down. This will cause the racket to flip from right to left for right-handed players. This is called pronation.
  3. Continue alternating between supination and pronation until your forearm tires.

Practice the Serve Toss Drill

  1. Get into your normal serve stance.
  2. Toss the ball in the air with your non-dominant hand as if you were going to serve.
  3. After the ball leaves your hand, keep your arm in the air and try to catch the ball with your arm still extended (resist the temptation to turn your hand to catch the ball. Your palm should remain facing your direction).
  4. Do at least 20 tosses per session. Since this is not a strenuous exercise, you could even do 50 tosses in one session and do them twice per day. Imagine how much better your toss would be after one week or one month?

Practice Ball Racket Coordination

  1. Hold your racket, palm up, in front of you. The hitting side of the racket strings should be facing skywards. Bounce a ball off the strings as many times as possible without stopping. I consider this the forehand side.
  2. Pronate your hand so that your palm is now facing down. I consider this the backhand side. Now to try to do the same, bouncing the ball of this side of the racket strings as many times as possible.
  3. Once you master the forehand and backhand side, alternate between each one as the ball is in mid-air. Do as many as possible without stopping. For a little additional challenge see if you can also add in hitting the ball with the edge of the racket a la Roger Federer.

Work on Overhead Swings

  1. Start in the ready position with a continental grip and turn to your dominant side.
  2. Get your racket up in the power position and put your non-dominant hand up towards the sky. The non-dominant hand serves as a guide to hit the ball and helps achieve balance.
  3. To hit good overheads we need to practice turning to the side and covering distance with cross-over steps – rather than walking or running backwards. At this point, you will begin taking crossover steps and go back about 3-5 steps (depending on the amount of room you have).
  4. When you stop and set up for the overhead (try to envision it), make sure your weight is on the back foot. Then initiate the swing with a racket drop and pronation, transferring your weight to the front foot.
  5. Complete the swing and then get back to the ready position. Wasting no time, move forward to the same spot you started in.

Tennis Mental Game

Tennis Mental Game Questions

How do you deal with pressure situations?

Are you able to focus on what matters when playing a match?

Are you able to think clearly about strategy and tactics? Are you able to execute under pressure?

What is your general temperament on the court? Are you aggressive or passive? How is this working or not working for you?

Activities To Become Stronger

Focus on the ball

Keep calm but determined

Deal with distractions and the conditions

Deal with fear, nervousness and pressure

Learn to respect your opponent and other people involved in a match (umpires, linesmen, ball kids)

Tennis Serving

Tennis Serving Questions

Is your stance correct?

Do you have a proper grip of the tennis racquet?

Are you hitting correctly (loose grip, swing up, pronation)?

Are you combining backswing with your toss?

Do you toss, swing, and then hit?

Do you serve with the correct follow through?

 

Activities To Become A Stronger Server

Step 1: The Stance

A proper tennis serve stance is when your feet are positioned so that the front foot is pointing towards the right net post (for right-handers) and the back foot is parallel to the baseline.  The toes of the back foot are also roughly aligned with the heel of the front foot because you need to be stable in all directions once you initiate and execute your full service motion.

Step 2: The Grip

A proper tennis serve grip technique is to hold a continental grip.

There are many descriptions for how to find this grip. The one I’ll use makes it easy to check if your grip is really a continental grip.

Grip the racquet like a hammer and hold the racquet with the edge perpendicular to the ground, as shown in the picture.

Then place your left index finger in the “valley” between the thumb and the index finger of your right hand (for right-handers), just next to the bone on the thumb.

Now check where your left index finger is pointing on the racquet handle. It should point to the top left edge on the racquet handle.

Step 3: The Hitting Part – Loose Drop, Swing Up And Pronation

The hitting part is where the serve happens either correctly or incorrectly.

Think of the backswing elements ‒ like coiling, bending your knees, swinging the racquet back, maintaining the trophy position and so on ‒ simply as ways of gathering energy.

There are smaller parts of the hitting part:

  • loose drop of the racquet and arm
  • swing up & contact
  • pronation

Step 4: Backswing & Toss

The serve toss is often quite tricky to master and is often times practiced on its own. My own view is that it should never be practiced without simulating your backswing.

The very common toss drill where you place a target or even your own racquet in front of you on the ground and try to make the toss hit it is, in my opinion, not very effective if at the same time you are not getting into the same serving position as you would in reality. 

When you initiate your serve, you will immediately start turning your body to the side, your dominant arm will start swinging back, you’ll start leaning and coiling, etc.

The key points about the toss:

  • Place the ball in the middle of your hand, meaning exactly where the palm spreads out into fingers.
  • Hold the ball with your thumb on top gently.
  • Always toss with a straight arm using only your shoulder joint.
  • Release the ball at around your eye level and keep lifting the arm up following the ball.

 

 

Practice Itinerary

5 min - Accountability Followup

15 min - Sport Skill Development Workout

10 min - Skills Discussion