“Ultimately it is a balance each individual player needs to assess” Experienced tennis fitness trainer from The Campus advises amateurs on how to prepare for next season
Heading into the tennis off season gives professionals and amateurs a chance to recharge their batteries and prepare for next year. We spoke with Graham Morgan from the high performance gym at The Campus tennis resort in Portugal to answer our questions
Most professional tennis players take a break from tennis in December but they also use this time to get fit for the next season. What can you suggest for amateur players that maybe aren’t playing so much tennis this month? Should they rest or should they try to get even fitter for next season?
December is the month of fun, festivities and food (and drink too). Fitness usually takes a bit of a back seat, with the sobering thought of New Years resolutions on the horizon. Professional players need to prepare themselves for the New Season which starts before the New year has begun. They cant afford to take a back seat during December as early preparation is vital for a good start to the year and to prepare properly for the long gruelling season a head. Amateur players do not have the same intense requirements, however the competitive ones can use this time to get a head start on their rivals. Ultimately it is a balance each individual player needs to assess. Look at your goals for the next year, evaluate the plans needed to achieve those goals, and program the action required to succeed in completing those plans. Remember work done today can´t be undone, work to be done tomorrow has yet to be achieved.
In general, should tennis players that want to get fitter for tennis focus on their cardiac fitness or their strength or their flexibility? Or maybe all of them?
Tennis is an endurance sport that mobilises all the metabolic, physiological and psychological processes in the human body. To succeed all of these have to be functioning as near to optimal as possible. If one is below par it can affect the performance of the others. Ultimately reducing performance level. But which is the right one to work on for each individual? The only way to know is to have an evaluation. Find out what are your strengths and weaknesses. Then focus on strengthening your weaknesses or harnessing your strengths. This way will you will develop your game fitness.
What specific exercises for tennis players would you suggest in terms of improving their cardiac fitness, their strength and also their flexibility?
All fitness programs need a sound base or foundation from which they can develop. This foundation should build cardio fitness, strength and flexibility to provide speed, mobility and endurance. The foundation level of Cardio fitness can be achieved though upright movement drills and training, jogging, running, sprinting, footwork, and multidirectional training. Time and intensity can increase as fitness level increases. Heart rate and perceived exertion are good guides to assess levels and improvement.
The foundation level for strength training should be based around bodyweight exercises. Basic exercises using body weight to improve the strength and function of individual and groups of muscles. Exercises such as squats, lunges, jumps, press ups, dips, pull ups, abdominal curls are excellent foundation strength developers.
Foundation level flexibility is built by ensuring correct body posture and movement function. Making sure good upright posture is achieved with pelvic mobility will ensure muscle balance and stretching exercises can be performed without injury risk.
Ultimately the aim is to bring in exercises and drills that use all of the above with simulated performance profiles. So you train the body in the way you wish to use it on court.
How often should tennis players go to the gym over the Christmas holiday if they want to keep fit for 2020?
If players want to maintain their fitness level over the Christmas period then 2 times a weeks will keep the body ticking over. However if they are indulging in serious partying then one or two more times a week can help prevent the effects of Christmas continuing well into the New Year. A good plan is to get a bit of credit in the bank – if you know you are going to do some serious partying, try and train during the day. This gives you a bit of credit to enjoy yourself guilt free.
Does The Campus offer anything special for tennis players during the Christmas holiday period?
We are open all over the Christmas and New year period with classes, cardio tennis and private lessons available for all levels. We also have The High performance Training centre with qualified Personal Trainers and swimming coaches available to make the exercise stimulating and fun. Ultimately the Christmas holiday is a time for fun and enjoyment, so the exercise you take during this festive season should be exactly the same.
The Campus is one of Europe’s newest state-of-the-art multi- sports venues, created for elite athletes, teams and families. It is already becoming popular with Premier League football and rugby teams, Olympic and Para-Olympic squads, performance athletes and coaches taking advantage of the perfect training climate and using The Campus as their winter training base.
The recently opened High Performance Centre has cemented The Campus’ reputation as the outstanding location for holidaymakers looking for the ultimate sporting break, with dance classes, yoga, swimming and state-of-the-art saunas, steam rooms and wellness areas adding to the appeal.
All visitors will experience world-class tennis and padel courts, a wonderful cycling centre led by Paralympic gold medallist Mark Rohan, as well as a top-class swimming facility and a wellness section of the High Performance Centre that offers all visitors the chance to unwind a er an exhausting work-out.
Guests can stay at the magnificent The Magnolia Hotel, situated on the doorstep of The Campus and Quinta do Lago resort. It has a range of accommodation including 74 comfortable rooms, three suites and seven cottages. The rooms have been fully refurbished recently and the five-star service will help guests unwind and de-stress at the end of their day. There is a free shuttle bus service to The Campus for all guests.
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