Other Sports to Help Your Tennis Game
In an era of tennis that requires its athletes to rely on more than just skillset; upper-body strength, mental toughness and endurance have become a necessity to become successful.
But believe it or not, there are a few alternate sports that tennis players can include in their training regiment that are beneficial on improving hand-eye coordination agility and footwork.
Cross Country/Track and Field
A tennis player will run an average of three miles per match. Long distance running that is done in cross country races are great for developing your stamina. Sprint races like those in track and field events will allow you to focus on your speed.
Speed makes all the difference in a tennis match because it can help you when reaching balls that may take you off the court or bring you to the net and will allow you more time to recover back to a neutral area of the court before the next ball that needs to be hit within a rally.
Tennis may seem completely different from soccer but the two sports cross over very well. The speed and quickness you develop as a soccer player is extremely useful in tennis. Not only that, but soccer is even played by professional players to help increase the endurance of their legs. Both sports require a player to anticipate and read their opponents.
One of the movements that are precisely used in both sports is the split-step. The split step is used in tennis all the time when a player may be getting ready to a hit a volley at the net or if they are resetting their feet for a point on the baseline. In soccer, the goalkeeper does a split-step every time they prepare to make a save. This movement helps athletes in both sports to remain balanced and dive in the right direction for their next shot.
Although swimming may not be useful in developing a tennis player’s ball skills or coordination, the sport is beneficial in building endurance and stamina. Swimming is an excellent exercise for strengthening the muscles used in the service and overhead motions. Considered to be some of the best cardiovascular fitness someone can participate in, swimming involves a lot of repetitive movement against minimal water resistance which helps to build muscular endurance. These aspects of swimming are helpful in building core strength which is needed for a tennis player to compete at a high level.
Outside of constant start and stop sprints, playing basketball from time to time can help increase a tennis player’s reflexes. In basketball, players must coordinate their upper and lower body limbs to bounce the ball and then run. This type of synchronization is similar in tennis where players will coordinate their swings from the upper body and position themselves behind the ball to hit the ball back into the court.
One start-and-stop movement pattern that is used by both sports throughout an entire tennis match or a basketball game is the sidestep. Side stepping or shuffling as it is more commonly know as, is used in every point in tennis. In basketball, the same exact movement is used to defend a player on defense.
Tennis players who ride a bike on the regular can enjoy the benefits of increased endurance as well as increased speed and agility. This may also be easier on the body due to the strain playing on hard courts and back and forth court suicide drills may create. While boosting your aerobic fitness, biking up and down steep hills will make a tennis player generate a tremendous amount of power to propel themselves up different types of terrain. The resistance on your legs translates to on-court speed.
🎾 James Pressley, Staff Writer