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Every tennis enthusiast knows that tennis is a mental game and one too many mistakes can put any player over the edge. How does this relate to fitness though? It is often said that a strong body starts with a strong mind and this is a philosophy that can carry you far,especially in the game of tennis. Once you are into the match and start feeling those muscles burn, the first thing to go is your mind and as we all know, the key to winning a match very often comes down to the strength in mind. Whether your playing for fun or for the title of Wimbledon, the goal of this article is to help you keep your body strong so that your mind can stay focused on that big game winning smash.In an average match time on the court can vary from 30 minutes to three hours meaning you need to be prepared for any situation. Tennis is a unique sport that involves short bursts of energy as well as the endurance and strength to last the length of the match. This article is focusing on sprinting and cardiovascular training. Below are examples of some exercises to improve these areas.

  • Shuttle Sprints: from baseline to serving box and back, then up to the net and back. You can repeat this with either no rest or short rest. This will improve your pivoting and short distance bursts. Compete with a partner to push yourself even further. Try sets of five at first and improve each session by two sets.
  • Ball Retrieval: Place a number of balls across the court, sprint to each one pick it up, return it to the baseline and continue until all balls are recovered. Try timing yourself. This is a good exercise to do as a coach as well.
  • Figure 8: Start at one corner of the baseline and sprint to the net along the sideline. Once you reach the net, shuffle across the net until you reach the opposite sideline. Shuffle around the net going back towards the sideline you originally sprinted down. Proceed to sprint towards the baseline and shuffle across it, sprint down the other sideline and shuffle across the net as you did before toward the starting baseline.Once your reach the baseline, shuffle across it to the same corner that you started in to form a square version of a "figure 8".
Now that you have a some base knowledge of how to get into shape, the hardest part will be to go out and work! Find a partner to work out with so you can stay motivated and don't be afraid to start small when it comes to sprinting. Time yourself in order to track improvement as well. Do these sprints 3-4 times per week rotated with weight training sessions.Remember that the key to becoming a good player lies in the link between physical fitness and strength in mind.

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