| By Branislav Grujic

Sports science is a lifeline to the future of the tennis profession. The expanded knowledge and expertise that can be learned from every aspect of the sport science industry is the defining evaluation of the ever-changing market.

Today, players are bigger, faster and stronger than ever before. The demands facing them have never been more challenging. Now, though, they are beginning to take the advantage of the knowledge gained through the principles of sports science; incorporating and utilizing these principles to enhance their mental skills, biomechanics, conditioning, strength, flexibility, injury prevention and rehabilitation.

This increased awareness of the physical and mental demands and the importance of providing the highest standards of care have produced an acutely comprehensive approach to the maintenance and well-being of players of all ages and skill level worldwide, and has endowed the sports industry with the vision to succeed.
The framework of sports science is composed of the following components:

1. Physical development
Motor learning, and its subsequent ramifications, is the first area to explore when considering teaching criteria. Maturation differences, the rate at which cognitive aspects are learned must be fully considered for their influence, the rate at which you teach.

2. Tennis development
During this phase, the primary responsibility is technical instruction; integrating motor, physical, psychological and communication skills.

3. Biomechanics
Tennis development is a natural consequence of biomechanics, or the kinetic chain, which adds up to the body’s rotation force (legs, hips, trunk, shoulders, arms) and racquet speed. It includes efficiency of movement and effectiveness of performance.

4. Psychological development or skill training
This component is a cornerstone to successful athletic performance. The strategies for acquiring skills involve self-monitoring, self-evaluation, self-reinforcement. Included are motivation, visualization, stress management relaxation, positive reinforcement, self-confidence and goal-setting.

5. Physiological development or fitness
The ability to meet physical demands of the sport to perform optimally is vital. Design the training program with a focused plan and set of goals identifying short- and long-term objectives.

6. Injury prevention and rehabilitation
Strength and flexibility exercises as well as proper mechanics form the foundation of the injury prevention program. Be prepared! Learn first aid, keep records, utilize training programs and develop and emergency plan.

In summary, the integrity of sports science has ushered a brave new world. A world of understanding, direction, knowledge and application unified in the belief that the virtues of sports science will efficiently and effectively enhance a player’s opportunity to achieve optimal performance and success. As teaching professionals, we must embrace these virtues with determined optimism.

As students of the past and teachers of the present, we must savor the future. We must nurture and guide this generation toward the possibilities that are abound. We must inspire within them a sense of dedication and commitment to the learning process. We must engage them so that they may better understand and appreciate the journey so that they may eventually pass on to the next generation the innate importance of cherishing each and every facet of sports science.

Branislav Grujic

<p>Branislav Grujic is a USPTA Professional 1, tester and USPTA Sports Science Specialist. He is also a graduate of the High Performance Training Program. He may be reached by e-mail at <a href="mailto:grujic101@aol.com?subject=Re%3A%20LongIslandTennisMagazine%20Web%...@aol.com</a>.</p>