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The Ultimate Tennis Court Guide – Sharing my 30 years of tennis experience playing and coaching on all surfaces!
There are not many tennis holidays that I host without someone complaining of tennis elbow. It’s probably the most common injury I come across and unfortunately, once set in, is so difficult to get rid of.
The first thing to know about grass courts is that they’re fast – much faster than clay and hard courts.
When the ball hits the surface, blades of grass are flattened and the ball skids off the court fast and low.
By late summer, when the grass has been worn down, you’ll also find the bounce is very unpredictable.
IS IT ALL SERVE-AND-VOLLEY?
Big servers have always been successful at Wimbledon with the ball flying off the surface. And those who have mixed it up with a solid volley have won many titles at SW19.
Serve-and-volley play works for a number of reasons:
- it keeps the ball off the ground so you avoid unpredictable bounces
- fast serves are made faster because the ball skids off the court
You should also develop a good sliced backhand since the ball stays lower to the ground.
But it’s not true that only serve-and-volley players prosper – in fact, on the tour there are few serve-and-volleyers left.
Baseline players need to think about ending points quickly as well – if you’re a slogger, it’s important to work on hitting powerful winners and aiming down the line.
First let me start this blog by saying there is no better way to get fit for tennis than actually playing the game, this is assuming you are fit enough to play. No matter what exercise you do, jogging, gym work etc you will always find playing tennis uses muscles that you didn’t even know existed. So how do you get fit for tennis?
Tennis is such a complex sport it requires so many different physical attributes. You require a good Cardiovascular fitness as well as, strength, power, stamina and flexibility. I am going to look at this not from a Pro players perspective but from a typical tennis holiday client of ours who generally plays doubles from improver to advanced club levels.
Firstly fitness for a doubles player does not have to be anywhere near as high as for a singles player. In doubles you will do lots less running and will get loads more rest than in singles. You will play over half the amount of shots and will only serve 1/4 of the times.
Ways to improve your general tennis fitness. All of the below points will help and I’ve put them in my preferred order of importance.
- Funnily enough I would say try and play some singles! You will be made to move more and you will hit double the amount of balls. Don’t just play points though, try and arranged 1hr practice sessions where you are just trying to stay as consistent as possible. Yes this should be physically hard work and you should be able to get a very good work out if you are not getting out of breath during this session then you are not working hard enough, chase the ball more no double bounces. Do some simple drills like you hit down the line whilst your partner hits cross court.
- Warm up and cool down every time you play. This is the most missed opportunity not only will it help to prevent injury but it will also improve your fitness if you add it to your tennis sessions. Turn up 15mins early forget the preplay chitchat and complete a thorough 15min warm up before hitting a ball (include some jogging, skipping, crossovers during which make sure you are loosening up your upper body. Try and understand your body and loosen off the areas you feel need it the most). At the end of the session spend 10mins stretching all areas of your body.
- Yoga – look no further Yoga will help you improve you flexibility and strength it might also help with you focus on court. If you can’t make any classes then buy a learn yoga dvd and get started at home.
- Jogging – start off with a couple of steady 20-30min jogs per week. Measure your distance and try and improve your time / distance each time. Best to buy running trainers for this not tennis trainers
- Learning to weight train. You are never to old to lift weights, I train with a my good friend Pat who is 75 and holds the world record for combined squat deadlift and bench press he’s a true inspiration. Now I’m not asking you to go crazy but if your were to manage to train with weights 2 times for 45mins per week you will increase your strength dramatically not only this, it will help keep your bones strong, help reduce body fat and help prevent injuries. Done correctly weight training will also improve your core strength. The upside is you will feel stronger when playing shots and will find certain shots will improve due to the extra strength. I would advise you book the services of a good personal trainer who will show you the basic movements and can give you a simple to follow program.
- 3 x 30min Morning jogs and stretch with an instructor.
- 2 x 1hr Yoga sessions (All levels)
- 2 x 1hr group personal training learning to weight train
- 2 x 55min Cardio Tennis sessions
- 1 x Personalised fitness program
The object of ‘tennis fit’ package is to give you the knowledge and understanding of how to improve your basic fitness. The sessions will be fun and informative. At the end of your tennis holiday you will leave with a personalised fitness program which can be easily followed upon your return home following your tennis holiday.
Cost of the above program is £149. There will need to be a minimum of 5 participants for tennis fit to commence on the tennis holiday.