Category Archives: Training

Combat Sports and Tennis: What Can We Learn?

by Dominic King, CTPS, MTPS, ASCC, PES
I love to look around at many different sports and consider the transferable qualities that each sport can bring to tennis and how we can improve our training as a result. I believe that if you stay within the confines of a single sport, it is easy to get ‘blinkered’ and miss loads of great information that is out there and can be used. As a coach or S&C coach, to develop both ourselves and the players we work with, it is vital to learn from wherever we can.
An area I’ve liked to look towards is that of combat sports. I have always considered tennis to have many similarities to combat sports, both in terms of its ‘gladiatorial’ nature of being a battle most often fought 1 on 1, and also due to the fact that the tennis player must ‘strike’, though obviously in their case, a ball rather than someone else! As a result, looking at articles/literature related to combat sports is something I’ve always liked to do.

One such article I came across was, Assessment and Contributors of Punching Forces in Combat Sport Athletes: Implications for Strength and Conditioning’, Seth Lenetsky, Nigel Harris, Matt Brughelli.
NSCA Strength & Conditioning Journal (Vol 35, Number 2)

The article looked to explore potential S&C strategies to improve punching force and so I thought if we substitute ‘ball strike’ for ‘punching force’, it may be possible to get a few ideas that could relate to tennis.

3 primary contributors to punching force were identified:

1) contribution of arm musculature
2) rotation of the trunk
3) drive off the ground by the legs.

I’d say that the above would correspond very closely with contributors to tennis strokes, perhaps groundstrokes especially.
The article wanted to look primarily at the research relating to lower limb involvement in punching. It is however important to consider the other contributors too.

It presented a couple of key points for me:

– In one study (Filimonov at al), of 120 boxers analysed, boxers with more experience/elite level had a greater contribution from their legs to the punch when compared with the other contributors (arms and trunk)
– A further study (Smith at al) concluded that elite boxers produced a greater punching force.
Together, the above studies would suggest that the greater the contribution from the legs, the greater the force.

Fighting Style vs Playing Style

Interestingly, Filimonov broke this down further into fighting styles and concluded that ‘knockout artists’ had a higher leg drive contribution than ‘players’ or ‘speedsters’. I would suggest there could be a certain carry-over into relative playing styles in tennis…. would it perhaps stand to reason that the Aggressive Baseliner for example would display a greater contribution from the legs in the shot than a Counterpuncher might….?

The article also makes note of studies relating to other sports, such as shot-put, javelin, even overhead throwing in children, which also support the conclusions of Filimonov regarding the importance of leg drive. The image below, taken from the ITPA CTPS workbook, ties in the concept nicely regarding the kinetic chain and the importance of the legs in order to generate force up the chain, ultimately ending with the racket.

Continue reading

Posted in Playing Styles, Training | Leave a comment

Using the Medicine Ball in Tennis: Understand the Intentions

By Jonny Fraser (iTPA MTPS, MSc, CSCS), Owner of Science in Tennis

Medicine balls are often used in tennis helping develop, endurance, strength and power. They provide a good tool to add external resistance, develop torso strength and stability whilst allowing training of tennis specific movements through the kinetic chain. Understanding what the intention of using Continue reading

Posted in Medicine Ball, Stability Training, Training | Leave a comment

Hydration Issues in Sport

Heat-related illness and death are on the rise. Each year about 200 people in the US die from heat stroke, making it one of the top three causes of death in athletes. Yet heat illness and dehydration are largely preventable. With the Australian Open fast approaching, Continue reading

Posted in Heat, Hydration, Stop Sports Injuries, Training | Leave a comment

Why Do Tennis Players Have Tight Hips?

Most tennis players have tight hips due to the demands of the sport. Playing tennis requires the Continue reading

Posted in Training, Video | Leave a comment

Presentation Slides From Performance Lectures at 2014 Tennis Medicine & Performance Conference

On July 19th and 20th, 2014 the iTPA and STMS combined to host the 2014 Tennis Medicine & Performance Conference in Atlanta, Georgia (USA). This great 2 day education event brought together experts in all aspects of tennis medicine, science, performance training and coaching. As many of the iTPA family could not attend in person we are providing some resources for our members in over 24 countries. In this post you will see a selection of the performance focused presentation slides.


If you are interested in viewing 10 of the most well-attended sessions during the conference, please visit the link below with the ability to subscribe to over 7 hours of video from the conference 2014 Tennis Medicine & Performance Conference Videos

Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Tennis Medicine & Performance Conference, Dr. Mark Kovacs, Injury Prevention, Movement, Performance, Plyometrics, Serve, Speed & Agility, Sports Science, Training, Young Tennis Players | Leave a comment

Biomechanics of the Tennis Groundstrokes: Implications for Strength Training

By Josh Bramblett, iTPA Staff

Strategy used to play tennis has undergone a dramatic change within the last 20-30 years. A large change is the differences in groundstroke technique. Continue reading

Posted in Movement, Speed & Agility, Strength, Strength Training, Tennis Strokes, Training | Leave a comment

Physical and Physiological Demands of Tennis

By Josh Bramblett, iTPA Staff

The modern game of tennis continues to progress and evolve. There are numerous ways for any player at any skill level to participate. The physicality of tennis continually grows along with the demands placed on the body. The focus of the game has changed from finesse to power and speed. Continue reading

Posted in Heat, Injury Prevention, Movement, Performance, Periodization, Recovery, Speed & Agility, Sports Science, Tennis Strokes, Training | Leave a comment

Video: How to Train Loading in Tennis Groundstrokes

Video: How to Train Loading in Tennis Groundstrokes.   Continue reading

Posted in Loading, Tennis Strokes, Training, Video | 2 Comments

The Runaround Forehand Footwork Drill – Young Athlete

As the runaround forehand is a major potential weapon for all athletes, developing the appropriate footwork pattern at a young age should be a goal of any coach Continue reading

Posted in Growth & Development, Movement, Performance, Power, Speed & Agility, Training, Video | Leave a comment

Some Basics About Recovery Movement

Recovery Movement occurs immediately after the athlete has completed his/her stroke and they are attempting to return to a position that will allow for efficient movement toward the next stroke. There are Continue reading

Posted in Movement, Recovery, Training | Leave a comment