The physical preparation of the tennis players is a major component of the complex instruction process, the most important element alongside the psychological one, in order to achieve a great performance level.
During the physical preparation training we aim at finding a balance between the aerobic and anaerobic endurance, swiftness and power, dynamic balance, and flexibility.
The development sequence:
- general physical preparation, (has as an objective the improvement of the effort capacity; the greater the work potential, the more the body adapts to the constant demands of physical and psychological training)
- specific physical preparation ( founded on the general physical training process, has as an objective the continuing physical development of the player in accordance with the physiological and methodological particularities of the tennis game)
- perfecting the motility skills (has as an objective the perfecting of the specific motility skills and the adjustment of the players’ potential in order to cater for the specific needs of the tennis game)
From the point of view of motility skills in performance tennis the following are needed:
- increased indexes of general and specific velocity (reaction and execution speed, anticipation and involvement of the body parts in hitting the ball, and court movement under strength and endurance conditions);
- increased indexes of general and specific power display (an explosive strength at the level of the lower and upper parts of the body), perfectible through training;
- increased indexes of general and specific endurance (endurance to maximal and sub maximal, repeated and interrupted effort), perfectible through training;
- increased indexes of general and specific skillfulness ( skillfulness at the level of preparation procedures, and at the level of hitting the ball laterally and high in the air), the carrying into effect and finalising the stages of the game with minimum physical effort and maximum efficiency;
- increased indexes of mobility and muscular suppleness under specific game effort conditions;
- tendency to carry into effect an athletic, dynamic, and permanently offensive game pattern.
Motility Skills they are abilities of the human body which develop throughout life, but which can also be learnt through instruction for this very purpose. Motility skills are of two kinds:
- basic – velocity, skillfulness, endurance and power- and according to some authors, mobility and suppleness should also be included.
- specific – those entailed by the practice of some sport branches or professions, resulting from the blending of two or more basic motility skills (power= velocity +strength).
Any motility action involves all the basic motility skills, however, these actions weigh differently.Acting upon one motility skill in particular influences all the other skills.
Each motility skill entails a characteristic element:
- Velocity, swiftness, nippiness
- Skillfulness, degree of complexity
- Endurance, duration
- strength, weight
The capacity of the human body to carry into effect motility actions, with the entire body or just with parts of it, in the shortest period of time (with maximum speed). As it is well known, velocity in the game of tennis is decisive since the speed of the ball can reach high values in performance tennis: 240 km/h for the serve, over 80 km/h for side hits, while movement on court for the serve returning can reach high values.
It is a native quality, difficult to perfect through training at age groups above 16-18 years old. At an inchoate stage, special attention is paid to the development of this determining quality which can be developed through repetition, racing, and the game. The chosen methods, the dosage, the breaks, the means, the time and the period of the practice are all of paramount importance.A tennis player displays between 300 and 500 energy hurts during a regular game.
The capacity (quality) of the human body to carry out motility actions coordinating the body or parts of it under balance, precision, space and time orientation, amplitude, ambilaterality (ambidexterity) conditions for the purpose of obtaining maximum efficiency (under unusual conditions with minimum energy loss.It is the most employed physical quality required in the tennis game due to the technique diversity, the difficulty of execution under permanent changing conditions.
The capacity of the human body to make efforts for a long period of time and increased intensity, maintaining high, constant efficiency indexes. In other words, it is the capacity to make effort without growing tired (or by defeating the state of exhaustion) and it entails a high capacity of the body to rapidly recover subsequent to effort.
A tennis match can last between 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. There are many cases of 4-hour long matches. What is more, even on hard courts the matches can last up to a couple of hours.During a tennis match, a player runs for 5 to 8 km. Most kilometers in the match are covered over small distances from one side of the court to the other, back and forth, and sprinting in all directions( endurance under speed)
In order to handle these exhausting matches, players have to constantly improve their general and specific endurance ability by running for long time spans on flat and varied surfaces, by interval methods, the method of varied tempo, as well as by specific technical-tactical training and preparation, training matches.
The capacity of the human body to conquer resistance (opposition) through muscular contraction. Nowadays’ players hit the ball so hard that one can realize quickly that strength and power are the most important factors to reach the top. Andy Roddick holds the record for the strongest serve in the world, hitting the ball with a speed of 253 km/h and striking the ball with an average of 210 km/h even in the 5th set of a match. The game is improved as the players become stronger and stronger. The development of strength and power will help performance strikes grow. Power and strength do not come naturally and do not pertain to the talent range of the players. In order to develop these two aspects of the game more than just playing tennis is required. All players should constantly include in their training sessions exercises which develop strength and power, firstly, in order to avoid injuries, and secondly, to increase performance.
Articular mobility, flexibility or muscular suppleness
The game of tennis sometimes requires a player to hit the ball from incredible positions. There are some players who strike from a split position. Even though this is highly unusual, flexibility is a key-word in tennis. Considering all the positions from which players are compelled to hit- the stretching of the body after the ball to the extreme points of the court, the stretching involved in hitting a smash as response to an uncomfortable lob, stretching by gliding to recover a short ball- flexibility is a mandatory condition.
In order to perform at a high level, the muscles have to be tense irrespective of the stretching degree they are subjected to. Any restriction of the muscle in flexibility will limit the efficient movement on court, but it will also limit the general strength of the muscle, hence, the player will have a reduced power to hit.Possessing good flexibility also helps prevent the risk of injuries at the level of the ligaments, joints, and muscles, which has a morphofunctional osteoarticular and musculoligamentary sub-layer. Flexibility represents the capacity of the human body to carry into effect large amplitude moves (in tennis it can be located at the level of the coxofemoral and humeral articulations). Its degree of development makes possible the harness of other motility skills and specific abilities.
Mobility heavily relies on muscular and ligament elasticity (suppleness), being liable to changes due to internal and external factors which act upon them (temperature, fatigue, degree of training, etc). Although mobility reaches maximum value only after the age of 16, it can still be more easily developed in children. Stretching and gymnastics exercises are mainly used to improve mobility and suppleness.
The time allotted to physical training in the preparation stage is more generous than in the other stages of the annual cycle, representing about 40 – 50 % of the total amount of time dedicated to the training process. At this stage, the main objective is the increase in the level of motility development, laying emphasis on the most dominant mobility skills involved in the tennis game. In order to achieve this, gymnastics and athletics exercises, as well as sports games and tennis-oriented motility exercises are used. In the pre-competition stage, the time allotted to physical training represents about 30 – 40% of the total amount of time spent on training. During this stage, a relationship between the level of development of the motility skills obtained through specific means of physical training has to be ensured.