Natural Approaches to Improving Tennis Performance

Tennis is a racket sport that is played either between two single opponents or two double-player teams. It is a sport which can be played competitively, as well as just for fun. When playing tennis, there are many moderate to high-intensity bursts of energy. This sport requires individuals to quickly move from one side of the court to another, while maintaining speed, accuracy and agility. So, what are some ways that an individual can naturally improve their tennis performance? There are many different ways to accomplish this. Getting adequate sleep, speed and agility training, conditioning the shoulders and arms, and maintaining a proper diet are the natural Approaches to improving tennis performance and  that will be discussed in this article.

natural approaches to improving tennis performance
Natural approaches to improving tennis performance

Below are the natural approaches to improving tennis performance

Maintain Adequate Sleep and Sleep Hygiene

As with any sport, sleep is essential for a body’s recovery process. Maintaining adequate sleep every day is crucial for improving athletic performance. There are many negative impacts of inadequate sleep in relation to athletic performance. Inadequate sleep can decrease reaction time, accuracy, strength and endurance – all of which are essential skills in tennis performance. Inadequate sleep can even cause cognitive functions to diminish, including judgement and decision making. Both of these functions are essential in tennis performance since individuals are required to move quickly and efficiently to get to the ball.

Individuals should target 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. When maintaining adequate sleep, individuals can expect benefits such as improved reaction time, quicker sprint times during agility training, and improvement in tennis serving accuracy. This is because as athletes begin to restore an uninterrupted sleep routine, the body will no longer release cortisol. Cortisol is a naturally produced stress-hormone in the body which is released any time an individual’s sleep rhythm is disrupted. The release of cortisol can negatively impact natural body recovery, thereby, decreasing tennis performance and slowing recovery from conditioning.

Individuals should also maintain proper sleep hygiene by doing things such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine for a few hours prior to a designated bedtime, using the bed for sleep only; not for activities such as TV, computer or phone use, and lastly, trying to maintain a sleep schedule. There are many additional ways to achieve proper sleep hygiene. If improvement in tennis performance is an individual’s goal, maintaining adequate sleep and sleep hygiene is essential for recovery and functioning.

 Speed and Agility

Speed and agility are two key skills that tennis players should attempt to master to the best of their abilities. The constant movement of each player paired with the varying speeds of the tennis ball, requires that each individual works to build their stamina. Some ways to naturally improve speed and agility are to partake in training drills that will condition the body to move and react quickly. Stop-start sprints and lateral plyometric jumps are two examples of speed and agility drills which can be incorporated into your training routine to improve your tennis performance. If speed and agility drills are practiced consistently, the results will produce a significantly better tennis performance.

Strength Training the Shoulders and Arms

Strength training is another natural way to improve tennis performance. This can be targeted training to build muscles in the areas that are most commonly used when playing tennis, which includes the shoulders and arms. Since the shoulder region is highly involved when playing tennis, it is essential to train this area of the body in order to improve the speed of the tennis ball during serving. The speed of a serve depends highly on the muscle build of an individual’s shoulders and arms. Therefore, strength training will provide more accuracy and power during a serving motion and even when reaching out to hit the tennis ball as well. There are multiple ways to strength train the shoulders and arms. Some examples include but are not limited to dumbbell front rises, standing dumbbell shoulder press, one-arm dumbbell push press and plant dumbbell shoulder raises. These exercises will help target the shoulder muscles that are essential for improving tennis performance.

Maintain a Proper Diet

Diet is a cornerstone to health and longevity. It is also a cornerstone to improving tennis performance and recovering from physical conditioning and strength training exercises. Proper nutritional intake can directly influence enhancing athletic performance, reducing risk of injury and improvement in recovery time. Studies have shown that individuals who consume nutrient-rich recovery meals after training and conditioning have had significantly improved performance and mood. Appropriate recovery meals should include fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Together, all of these components help to naturally help the body recover after training. This can also contribute to improved focus and attentiveness throughout a tennis match as well. 

Conclusion

Improving tennis performance is a very important goal for many individuals that are serious about this sport. There are many factors that can be adapted in order to naturally enhance athletic performance. Creating a daily schedule for sleep and exercise drills are essential beginning steps to improving tennis performance. Once a proper routine has been established, each individual can tailor their training exercises based on their own strengths and weaknesses. Some training drills and rest times should simulate the real-time requirements of an actual tennis game in order to provide the most benefits. With the methods listed above, individuals can not only improve their tennis skills, but also find physical and mental ways to maintain their health and thus this are the natural approaches to improving tennis performance.

Resources

  1. Fleming JA, Naughton RJ, Harper LD. Investigating the Nutritional and Recovery Habits of Tennis Players. Nutrients. 2018;10(4):443. Published 2018 Apr 3. doi:10.3390/nu10040443
  2. Kovacs MS. Applied physiology of tennis performance. Br J Sports Med. 2006;40(5):381-386. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2005.023309
  3. Ranchordas, Mayur & Rogerson, David & Ruddock, Alan & Killer, Sophie & Winter, Edward. (2013). Nutrition for Tennis: Practical Recommendations. Journal of sports science & medicine. 12. 211-224.
  4. Vitale KC, Owens R, Hopkins SR, Malhotra A. Sleep Hygiene for Optimizing Recovery in Athletes: Review and Recommendations. Int J Sports Med. 2019;40(8):535-543. doi:10.1055/a-0905-3103

 

See Also

  1. Natural Approaches to Enhancing Golf Performance
  2. Naturally Improve Yoga
  3. Natural Ways to Improve Sleep
  4. How to Maintain and Boost Cognitive Ability

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