How everyone can train like a Wimbledon Champ?
We are now deep into week two of Wimbledon so how can you utilise tennis training to take your own performance to the next level?
As mentally frustrating as golf, as physically demanding as squash, as rewarding as safe-cracking, tennis is not just for Wimbledon fortnight, but works just as well in the other 50 weeks of the year – these top tips will transfer across to help your training reach the next level.
1. Get on the track
It’s no use hitting like a monster if you lumber towards incoming shots like one, too. Work on your court speed with running repetitions – Andy Murray does them, and if it’s good enough for a Wimbledon champion, it’s good enough for you. A simple (to remember, if not to do) workout is 10 x 400m on a flat stretch of road or an athletics track. Warm up with a mile of gentle running, then blast out 10 repetitions with a 90-second recovery between each one, during which you can walk, jog very slowly or just visualise acing your way to a Grand Slam victory. Whatever works for you.
2. Hit the gym
A good tennis game relies on short, explosive efforts, running towards the ball, turning quickly, doing it again. And again. And again. Work on your explosive power in the gym with plyometric exercises– box jumps with increasing height as you gain confidence, split lunge jumps where you switch from one leg to the other, star jumps – jumps are all good. Rotational exercises are also important, as is core work, and a Swiss ball workout ticks both those boxes.
3. Lift heavy things
If you are aiming to be at your best for summer games, then consider the winter as the time you lay your foundations, building strength through the whole body. squats, bench presses, lunges, deadlifts, shoulder presses, cable wood chops – all using weight or resistance – will target the key muscles. As the spring approaches, build on that strength with increased weights, but fewer reps. Then, as your actual competitive season arrives, switch to your plyometric drills or workouts.
Think of those pictures of Boris Becker flying near-horizontally through the air to make a winning volley. Then think of yourself, sitting on your backside at a desk all day. Not ideal preparation for an evening game. Try a regular yoga class – not only will it improve your flexibility but it’s also particularly good for helping tennis elbow. If you’re already a budding yogi, poses that are particularly good for tennis are Downward Dog, the Triangle pose and the oddly named Cow Face Pose, where your arms meet behind your back – ideal for stretching out overworked shoulders. The meditative and relaxation element of yoga could also help your mental game. Imagine what John McEnroe could have done, if only he’d signed up to Bikram.
5. Consider that coaching
It might not be the cheap option, but if you are really keen to improve your game, nothing can beat a good coach. The Lawn Tennis Association has a directory of coaches based across the UK and many of these will do group sessions, which would help keep your budget down. Prices do vary, but a rough estimate would be £30 for an hour of solo coaching – less, of course, if you share. On the other hand, you could also stay indoors, glued to your computer – there are some really good coaching videos online to help you master technical aspects of the game.
6. Find your kind of club
A lot of people are put off by the idea that tennis clubs are only for those rich in both cash and time. Certainly some – though not all – have prohibitive fees and waiting lists as long as Novak Djokovic’s reach. Do ask at your local one, though, because you might be surprised at how reasonable some can be, with off-peak reductions often available. Local councils also put on their own coaching sessions – as does Tennis For Free (TFF), a community sports charity. It has weekly, family oriented and coach-led sessions in parks around the country, as well as offering free court access.