I have been working with tennis players since 2002. My clients have included elite juniors to elite seniors players and WTA former #30 and Chinese Olympian Zhang Shuai. During this time I have developed an appreciation for the beauty and physicality of the game. As players develop physically their strength and conditioning approach needs to change, however some fundamental components of their training blocks remain the same. Postural alignment, core stability and joint mobility are three cornerstones of any training program. The alignment and function of a tennis player determines their capacity to withstand the rigors of training and the sport itself. A rounded shoulder or restricted ankle from an improperly rehabilitated ankle sprain can lead to repetitive stress injuries through the body if not identified and rectified.
We begin with a comprehensive joint by joint range of motion and postural analysis helps to identify areas of focus for flexibility, manual therapy and mobility work. Functional movement patterns are also analyzed. Coordination and sequencing exercises are prescribed to help smooth out these patterns which will help to unlock athletic potential.
Flexibility training and manual therapy keeps soft tissue healthy, which allows joints to move through their optimal range of motion. This is often though of as flexibility or joint mobility. Core stability and shoulder stability training (more than just rotator cuff work) allow the player to transfer power from the court up through their kinetic chain (body) and out their racquet. If a player has deficits in joint mobility, core stability or shoulder stability a decreased work capacity and risk for injury is present.
Strength training, plyometric training, agility work and conditioning drills are used to develop strength and athleticism on the court. Each player’s program will be slightly different based off of the results of their assessment. Proper technique and systematic progression are of upmost importance. Players are only given exercises if they are developmentally appropriate for them. Top tier players often select one on one training sessions where they can reap the benefits of manual therapy integrated into their individualized training plans. Small group trainings successfully supplement one on one training sessions or provide effective programming for players looking to get stronger and more athletic on the court. An array of equipment is used including:
-DMS (Deep muscle Stimulator)
-medicine balls (with and without the throwing wall)
-sled (pushing pulling and crawling)
-cables, bands, tubing