Tennis , Grand County? Prepare your body first |

Tennis , Grand County? Prepare your body first

The Fitness Trail/Jackie Wright

Sport-specific power, balance and agility drills as well as flexibility training are essential for improving performance in all sports. Below are two tennis-specific agility and balance drills and one lower body flexibility exercise. Performed regularly, these drills and exercises will develop coordination, balance, power and the essential flexibility to execute the skills and movements required by this sport, safely and effectively.

Figure 8 – Speed, Agility and Coordination Drill

– Create a figure 8 design by placing six cones on the floor or court.

– Run around the outside top of the figure 8, then through the “middle” of the 8 and around the outside bottom of the figure 8.

– Then, reverse directions and repeat. Alternate directions one to eight times each depending upon your fitness level.

– Maintain your form throughout by keeping your shoulders rotated back and down, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward the spine.

– Perform this drill two to three times per week.

BOSU Balance Trainer – Knee Stick Drill

– Begin by stepping onto a BOSU Balance Trainer with the right foot (count one) and lifting your left knee (count two), then walk off with the left foot (count three) and step on the floor with the right foot (count four). Then repeat leading with the left foot.

– Once you are able to comfortably repeat this sequence 8-12 times, begin to add propulsion by performing a “jump” from the floor with the right foot to the BOSU lifting the left knee simultaneously.

– As you perform this move, “stick” the right foot and hold the left knee up for a second or two then repeat on the other leg.

– The concept is to stop the movement as you “stick” the foot and knee controlling the balance by keeping the core muscles engaged.

– Repeat this sequence 8-12 times, two to three times per week.

Flexibility Exercise ” Perform during the cool-down stage of your workouts or following play.

Adductor Stretch – Inner Thigh Muscles

– Utilizing a 10- to 12-inch step or bench, stand with the legs more than shoulder-width apart facing the step.

– Hinge from the hip joint forward until you can easily place your hands on the step/bench shoulder-distance apart, keeping the knees “soft” and your back flat.

– Flexing the right knee, sit straight back creating a 90-degree bend at the knee joint, keeping the majority of your body weight in the right heel.

– This should enable you to extend the left leg fully with the knees and toes of both feet facing forward.

– Inhale as you lower the body down, exhale as you lift the body back to the beginning position, then repeat on the other side.

– Keep your navel pulled toward your spine throughout and your head and neck in neutral.

– Repeat this stretch one-three times, holding each position for 15-30 seconds, two to three times per week and following play.

General Tips for Tennis Preparation:

– If you are new to the sport, taking tennis lessons from a qualified professional will help you to safely and effectively learn the sport.

– Always warm up before you begin playing and cool down and stretch after play.

– Perform two to three days of muscular strength training exercise for all major muscles groups of the body, including your abdominals/core, to improve your strength and performance on the court.

Next week get ready for outdoor cycling preparation.

” Jackie Wright can be reached at her e-mail address: