| By Branislav Grujic

The principal of physiology, or physical fitness, is the ability to meet the physical demands of a sport to perform optimally. Physical training is a disciplined routine of specialized procedures that are performed by players to condition their bodies for the purpose of improving performance. The following are elements of physical training:

Periodization
This is a long-term plan that systematically controls and changes the volume, intensity, frequency and duration of training. A tennis specific periodization program consists of four phases:

1. Preparation phase
The development of a strong aerobic base focuses on high volume and low intensity work such as running or biking.

2. Pre-competitive phase
A training routine that should more tennis-specific, increasing in intensity, while reducing volume. The focus should be on explosive movement and strength exercises.

3. Competitive phase
Focus on maintaining strength and endurance levels. Train in high intensity situations, while determining volume by the number of matches.

4. Active rest phase
Have players rest from tennis. Cross-train to maintain fitness levels.

Fitness and training program
This program should be tennis-specific, and the muscle and energy systems should be trained as closely as possible to the way they will be used for tennis. Include:

1. Agility training
2. Cardio training
3. Strength training

1. Agility training
Speed and agility is the ability to move around the court quickly, and get into position with the solid base. Tennis players can improve speed and agility by developing their reaction and acceleration times. The 40-yard dash is an effective drill, as is hill climbing and high-speed treadmill running.
Flexibility exercises will insure a necessary range of motion for optimal performance. Utilize static stretching, which effectively involves slow, isolated movements and creates little soreness, and dynamic stretching, which refers to active motion.

2. Cardio training
Utilize aerobic and anaerobic training. Aerobic activity includes longer duration with steady-paced movements (running, biking). Anaerobic activity is higher in intensity and shorter in duration (wind sprints, line drills). For example: Jogging is 95 percent aerobic and five percent anaerobic, while sprinting is the exact opposite (95 percent anaerobic and five percent aerobic).

Tennis is a sport that relies heavily on both systems. Most points last between five and 10 sec., and a player may expand between 300-500 short bursts of energy during any particular match. Each short burst is anaerobic. If a player’s aerobic fitness is low, it is more difficult to recover between points and games.

3. Strength training
Strength and endurance are the main ingredients of a strength training program. By increasing strength and endurance, a player will be able to move as strongly at the end of a match as at the beginning, and respond quicker and produce more forceful movements with less effort.

Muscle training requires lower resistance, more repetitions and high-speed exercises to allow muscles to generate power. In designing a strength program include:

a. Sets of repetitions (two-four sets)
b. Repetitions per set (three-six reps for higher weights and 10-15 for lower weights)
c. Rest between sets (30 sec.)
d. Intensity (how much weight to use)
e. Speed of lifting
f. Frequency of sessions

In summary, each sport science principal possesses unique characteristics necessary for improving performance. Each principle completes the mosaic of the learning process. Guided by these principals, teaching professionals will discover a rich resource of intellectual wealth and practical prosperity.

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>