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Basic Conditioning Drill For Sprint Speed in Longer Matches

Ever noticed how in the 5th set of a major tournament at the professional level the best players don’t fade out.  I’m referring here to the Federers and Nadels of the tennis world.

Both of these guys have superior strokes but just as importantly they are both incredibly fit. If the two of them end up in a match against each other you can be sure it’s going to be a long, grueling one because they physically won’t give up.

A lesser player my have comparable strokes in the early sets but in the all-important 5th set they start to fade because they are not as well conditioned.

Tennis relies on both anaerobic and aerobic conditioning.  This drill is primarily short, fast bursts of speed and therefore conditions the anaerobic system. 

The above court conditioning drill is simple but don’t underestimate its importance.

It doesn’t require any equipment just changes of direction. It is for all levels of play.

  • Start at the left side of court on baseline
  • Sprint to net then turn and sprint back to center hash line at baseline
  • Now sprint to net again on right side of court and then back to baseline.
  • Now do 10 jumping jacks
  • Take minimal rest (10 seconds) and repeat above drill
  • Do this 5 times

Basic Conditioning Drill Part 2

This is an important variation on the first drill.  This one will have the player running backward in a slightly lateral motion.  This simulates the type of conditions a player might face if they rushed up to the net and then were lobbed.  You might not want to have your back to the net as you run to the baseline because you won’t know where your opponent is moving.  Any time you’re running backwards you’re conditioning a different set of muscles on the back of the legs.

  • Start at the baseline on left side of court and sprint to net.
  • Now run backwards (dotted line) to the center hash line at baseline.
  • Sprint again to the net on the right side of the court.
  • Backwards again to the baseline.
  • Rest 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Both of these drills can make a huge difference, if done regularly, in your ability to get to balls in longer matches.

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