Thursday, February 11, 2010

Physical Fitness in the Professional Tour - January 14, 2010

Good day everyone from Hobart, Australia!

Shahar won her second round last night and is through to the quarterfinals where she will meet Carla Suarez Navarro from Spain.

Last nights match was an interesting match as Shahar beat last year’s Australian Open quarter finalist Jelena Dokic. Playing late at night is exciting for the players as the stadiums are usually full like it was last night and the atmosphere is usually electric especially when you play against a local player like Dokic. Not forgetting that it also usually means that you are doing well and the tournament directors believe that you will be a good earner for them.

Night matches have also a way of showing how important the physical fitness of today’s players is. Finishing late at night means going to bed late. This would normally mean less hours in bed and so less time to recover. Players that are prepared properly however are able to recover quicker as there bodies are fitter.

In order to achieve this fitness players have a pre season before the year begins which usually lasts between 4 to 6 weeks. The training focuses the first two weeks on building up the physical base of the player by doing a lot of aerobic fitness. The next half is usually spent transferring that fitness and strength that has been built in the running track, tennis court, and gym into explosive power. During all the phases of training we use the tennis court to help build these systems by doing several drills so the players fitness is built up in the very environment it will need to be used.

Many of the drills that we use to work on these systems and other parts of Shahars’ game can be found in the extensive video library on ITUSATENNIS.COM

During the tournament season the fitness trainers put together a maintenance plan for the player so that he or she can maintain what has been gained. This is usually done in a gym and each session usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. During tournaments players should never look to improve their fitness, as this will over load their bodies and most probably prevent them from playing to their full potential or in the worst cases injure them.

I hope this has helped you to understand a bit more the physical aspects of the tennis player and the preparation that goes into building and maintaining these.

I am off to the club to start with our day and prepare for another evening match. Is good to know that we did our homework this last pre season for as you can see until now it has been evening matches galore!

May they long continue, that’s all I have to say!

Have a great day!

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