Tennis training and conditioning cannot be dissociated anymore for tennis players that want to reach their full potential. Every good facility that teaches tennis has now a strength and conditioning coach in order to optimize the practice as much as possible.
Tennis training and conditioning need to be integrated together in the practice time if you wish to get the best results out of your practice. For beginners 25% of the practice time should be conditioning and at higher level 1/3 of the total amount is not too much.
Conditioning training includes everything from coordination and balance to strength training. The best tennis players are the ones that are complete athletes. In order to compete at a high level, players need to be quick, fast, strong, powerful, explosive, flexible, and of course they need a good aerobic capacity.
Players that follow a good conditioning training will be able to be a lot more efficient on the tennis court while they are practicing or playing matches. The best tennis players are the ones that have the greatest strokes but they are also the ones that are the most fit on the court.
Conditioning training can be done on the court or off the court. It needs to be completely integrated in the tennis training. Agility drills can be done everyday on the court, during, before or after the practice. This will help the players to improve their footwork technique and then to become a lot quicker on the court. Once the players start to move well they will have more time to be set up for their shots and then they will be a lot more efficient. Having great shots but not being able to move well or to set up well will not help a tennis player once he is in a match situation. This is why conditioning training on the court with agility drills could be very helpful for tennis players.
Off court, once or twice a week, some cardio training will help the players to stay fit. A good aerobic level, allows players to be more intense while they are practicing or playing matches. Tennis is a very intense activity and we see too often players that are getting tired too fast or do not recover well. Consistent cardio training as biking or running for 30 minutes will already help a lot to avoid this kind of situation.
Another very important part of conditioning is strength training. Strength training needs to be completely integrated in the program because players are more and more powerful and to keep up with your opponents you need to be as strong as them. Strength training is also the best way to prevent injuries that happen to often for tennis players.
Flexibility is also important to prevent injuries this is why a good stretching routine done everyday will be very helpful for a tennis player.
The key word in conditioning training is consistency on at least a weekly basis. If a players goes to the gym for 3 weeks and then stopped completely for a few weeks his physical level will decrease. It is very important to keep doing conditioning at least to maintain the fitness level of the players. When a player do not hit balls for too long it will be hard to get to his previous level again. The exact same thing happens in conditioning training.
Tennis training and conditioning need to be done together and with consistency. This is the key to become a great tennis player and this is why it is so hard to reach the top level in this sport. Professional tennis players are complete athletes that work hard on and off the court by following specific conditioning programs for tennis. This should be done at any age and level in order for a player to reach his full potential.