Tennis Players “Love” Pilates

Skilled players make it look so easy!

However, your movement skills, strokes, and conditioning may leave something to be desired.

If you are an avid player, you are quite aware that proper movement skills are critical to play tennis successfully. If you are new to the game, you better make these skills a priority. Typically, this requires utilizing quite a few steps as you recognize the path, spin, and pace of the ball coming your way.

Tennis is a reaction sport. In fact, it has been said that it is a “game of emergencies”.

Tennis involves constant movement, short sprints, and frequent directional changes. Those who research such things, found that during a single point there is on average 3-5 directional changes–and it is not uncommon to see more than 500 directional changes during a single match.

Matches can last up to several hours, which require aerobic (body requires oxygen) conditioning for endurance. But the short sprints, explosive movements, and directional changes, the body requires anaerobic (energy stores within the muscles;glucose) conditioning.

Being said, both the cardio-respiratory and muscular systems should be trained using movement patterns representative of those used during play.

As all good tennis players know, it doesn’t matter how well you can hit the ball if you can’t get to it.

This over simplifies the game, but it’s a fact.

Training for tennis players are different than for athletes in other sports.

Tennis has the unique distinction among sports of constantly blending different types of fitness needed to play it at the highest level. Tennis players must often be on the court for 2-5 hours, but they also must be capable of short bursts of power, such as the movements used when serving, snatching a volley, sprinting to the net or retrieving a lob.

For that reason, conditioning for the sport must also have a blend of exercises that build endurance but also explosion. In other words, one or the other will not do when creating a training plan for tennis players—both are needed. Being a sport that has many physical requirements such as:

  • good flexibility
  • coordination
  • functional strength
  • endurance
  • and a good mental ability

… it is obvious that Pilates would be a natural fit for the game.

Developing an athlete’s core – the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine – makes athletes more agile, helps prevent injury and increases sports performance.

Pilates builds a strong core, increases strength and flexibility simultaneously, and improves posture, stability and alignment. It also emphasizes complete concentration on smooth, flowing movement, and proper breathing. You become acutely aware of how your body feels, where it is in space, and how best to control its movement. Balanced Pilates training for tennis will help prevent injury and over training.

More conventional or traditional workouts are weight-bearing and tend to build short, bulky muscles – the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility, a necessity for the ardent tennis player. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

Tennis players are required to deliver controlled power from unbalanced body positions. All Pilates movements are initiated from a strong core to provide stability, and targeting these requirements can aid injury prevention and enhance performance by developing stamina, coordination, and strength.

Tennis is a lifelong sport and the goal for many players is to continue to enhance their performance while staying injury free. If this is a goal and desire of yours, please contact me to schedule a consultation, but be advised, I have limited time and space available.

My email address: thumpologist@gmail.com

…or drop by our studio…

Mind to Motion Pilates Plus, 518 E. White House Canyon Rd (Madera Plaza, across from La Pasada)

Thumper

“I am serious about making the game fun that you take seriously!”