How do we become a complete tennis players?
I have noticed from all of the places I have worked at that parents mostly think only about how many hours my kid is going to hit tennis balls? How many hours they will spend on the tennis court? This is not the way to get better, it is not the way to be able to compete in high school tennis, college tennis, or professional events.
Tennis is a hard game, not an easy one like everybody would think about just from watching television. It is a lot of effort, hard work, and heart. If you don’t put 100% in everything you do, you are not going to achieve hardly anything. You have to push yourself as hard as you can and make sure that you are very tired after the end of each session.
There are so many different ways to be a better tennis players. I will share today 6 tips that will helpful for you guys to read and follow and it will benefit everyone. We are going to be talking about: Diet, Legs, Cross-Training, Arms, Stretches and Confidence. We have to follow directions and make sure that we are on the right track.
We have to train like professionals and eat like them as well. People think that diet is not important, and they can eat whatever they want and at anytime they want. Food is the fuel for your body. It is the same thing with the car, if there is not fuel they car is not going to drive. If we don’t eat the right food and at the right time, it is going to affect our performance on the tennis court.
Diet and nutrition play a key role in any pro-player’s healthy living regime. Although you might not be able to have a dietician on hand or a personal chef, you can still eat like a tennis player. One of the key food groups to focus on is carbs. During a match, a tennis player can lose typically between 500 to 1500 calories, so refuelling using carbohydrates is essential. Eat pasta, rice, or cereals post-match. Take a leaf out of Rafael Nadal’s book and eat some grilled fish, such as salmon, alongside a portion of pasta and fresh vegetables. On those days when you’re not playing a game, start your day with a smoothie. Venus Williams eats vegetable-based smoothies, using kale, carrots, cucumber and protein powder to create a nutritious morning juice. For lunch, Venus likes to eat big salads with plenty of raw vegetables, beans, and lentils. To eat like Venus, knock up a lentil, pea and bean salad for lunch, adding honey, feta and some olive oil to liven up the dish. If you continue to eat this mix of protein, fruit and vegetables, fiber and carbohydrates you should be able to get the body of a tennis player. Some people don’t like fish; you can switch fish for grilled chicken. You can always make your plate as healthy as possible. You have salad with very basic things in it like cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and olive oil. There is always a way to eat get and stay healthy to be able to perform in the best way possible and stay on court for the longest period of time.
One of the most important things as well for any athlete, and specifically a tennis player, are strong legs. Speed, agility, and sheer strength is required from a tennis player’s legs, and you’ll need to work hard to achieve the toned legs that will help you to improve your tennis game. Having strong legs will give you all the confidence in your ground strokes and your ability as a tennis player. You are not going to worry about getting tired, and you will just remain focus on playing the right game. One of the best ways to tone your legs is to skip. Rumor has it, Roger Federer kicks off his training sessions by skipping, and so should you. Try to skip for one minute before resting. Repeat this between three and five times, depending on your fitness levels. Another great way to work your legs is to do some interval training. Serena Williams completes interval training as a part of her training and if it works for her it will work for you. If you are running on a treadmill, begin by walking quickly for two minutes, then walk a little quicker on a steeper gradient for one minute before sprinting with no gradient for one minute. Repeat this process between three and five times. If you are working outside, use lamp posts, or a stopwatch, to complete your session. You should also try to include some lunges with resistance, and some lateral raises into your exercise routine to get legs like a tennis player. Each player is different but we can always push as hard as we can to get the best out of it.
Clearly if you want to look like a pro-player you have to play tennis. Although the stars play daily for a couple of hours at a time, chances are you have other commitments, which means you can’t dedicate so much time to the court. However, just because you can’t dedicate as much time to tennis as the pros, doesn’t mean that when you train you should only play tennis. You still need to work out your body doing other forms of exercise. This is known as cross training.
Cross-training is essential for any athlete, not only because it helps build and work other muscle groups (which in turn helps you to become a better tennis player), but it also helps to reduce the stress on the body and hopefully will reduce your risk of picking up a common tennis injury. Cross-Training is one of the best ways to develop muscular endurance for tennis. The goal for cross training is to provide your body with a variety of exercises that will develop and strengthen the muscles commonly used while playing tennis.Try to work some alternative training sessions into your routine, such as cycling, strength training or rock climbing. This will make you a better player and you’ll also have a flawless tennis body as a result.
If you want to have a serve that clocks up triple digits (the fastest ever serve on record is, according to the Guinness World Records, 163.7mph and was hit by Sam Groth in 2012) then you need to pay some serious attention to these arm exercises. As well as playing tennis, you need to do some decent strength training exercises too. Try to include a combination of exercises, such as straight-arm rowing, dips, chest presses, push-ups and medicine ball drills.
In order to keep progressing and building muscle and tone in your arms you have to make sure you keep your training sessions varied. Experiment with a range of different exercises. Having a strong arm will always allow you to have a bigger ground strokes, as well as a big serve. Having a big serve will help you to win points quickly, and you are not going to get close to the exhausting time because you do not have to run and chase the ball as much. Serve is 50% is your game.
Stretching is a big part, and plays an important role in our daily life, not only on the tennis court. I have seen so many kids finish practice and decide to take their bag and leave. This is the easiest way to get injured, we have to stretch. We have to take our time in stretching, and spend at least 20 to 30 seconds in each stretch we are going to do to avoid getting an injury or a tight muscle. We can always stretch at home after shower, right before bed. Make it one of your daily routines. We have to take care of, and make sure that we stretch every muscle in our body.
Lastly, one very important topic that I love talking about, and did a lot of research on, is confidence. If you watch tennis players, both off and on, court they don’t slink about or slouch. They stand tall. They are confident. Their shoulders are back, their hips are in line with their ears and boy don’t they look 10 times better for it. Remember that getting the body of a tennis player is not just about working out a lot and eating decent food, it’s also about your posture and your confidence too.
To improve your posture, work your core by doing exercises like the plank. You can also strengthen your core by doing a Pilates class, doing back extensions and performing exercises that work your obliques and your abdomen. This core work will also improve your balance and tone up your stomach, so there are lots of benefits to be gained by doing these exercises.
As well as exercising you also need to be conscious of your posture throughout the day and make sure you reposition your body and ensure your spine sits in an S shape when your posture begins to slip.
Players can build up their confidence by working as hard as they can, and putting everything out in practice because what happens in practice will happen in the tennis match. Working on the things that we need to work on over and over is the key to becoming an outstanding tennis player. These are all things that are going to build your confidence. Always believe in yourself, think about all the positive things, and how many hours you have trained. By doing this, you are ready to go and beat everyone.
Being a tennis player, or an athlete in general, is tough. You have to sacrifice a lot of things in life and put tennis, or any sport that you play or compete in, as your first priority. Do what will help you to get better, and when you feel like getting lazy or tired, tell yourself I want to be good and I want to reach all my goals, and this is not going to happen by sitting at home.
I hope you guys are staying home, and safe. Hope everyone is doing well, and doing some exercises. Let me know please if you have any questions.
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Katie’s parents live in Ohio, she lives in the moment. Passionate about tennis and a few other sports. She is most probably playing tennis, tweeting or eating right now. Go Cavs!