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Strength and Conditioning for Tennis

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]After watching the Australian Open, you might be feeling inspired to take your tennis to a new level. Undoubtedly, the athletes on court are there, at least partly, for two reasons – they are physically capable and they aren’t injured. This is the result of world-class strength and conditioning programs which ensure athletes are healthy and performing to the best of their abilities. These programs deal with the unique challenges faced by tennis players.
• Up to 5 hours of repeated high intensity efforts
• Short, high intensity points (average hardcourt rally lasts just 6 seconds (9)
• Relatively long recovery between high intensity efforts (1:2 work/rest ratio) (4,5,8)
• Approx 1000 shots played per match
• Short sprints (Average distance to ball contact is just 3 metres (11))
• Repeated, powerful trunk rotation (11)

4 things to think about when developing a tennis strength and conditioning program:
1. Focus on the shoulder (injury prevention & force production)

Shoulder injuries are the most common upper body injury in tennis players (10). Therefore, to keep the athlete on the court, shoulder health is vital. During the serve and forehand, tennis players create rapid internal rotation resulting in huge torque around the shoulder joint. Unfortunately, this means that once the serve is delivered, the athlete must rapidly control the deceleration of the racquet head. When this deceleration is occurring hundreds of times per match, multiple times a week, eventually injuries can happen. Thankfully, there are a few things a good strength and conditioning program can deliver to make sure the athlete is on court, strong and ready to go:
Make sure there are no muscle imbalances between the front and back of the shoulder.
As the serve and forehand are both anteriorly dominated, muscle imbalances in the shoulder joint are common. Therefore, it is up to the strength and conditioning coach to make sure the back of the shoulder can cope with the forces experienced in the deceleration phase of these strokes.
Maintain shoulder range of motion
Research suggests that shoulder range of motion (especially internal rotation) decreases over time in tennis athletes (1,2,6). Therefore, in an effort to reduce this injury risk it is vital that shoulder flexibility is taken into consideration. This can easily be programmed to do at home to maximise time-efficiency in the gym.
Strengthen internal rotation
Upper arm internal rotation plays a substantial role in racquet velocity with professional players reaching velocities of 3000° per second (7). Therefore, the importance of internal rotation development shouldn’t be underestimated. Therabands are a great tool for developing shoulder rotation, especially at home or on the road.

2. Make sure the athlete can rotate their torso powerfully

Groundstrokes, which contribute the majority of shots played in modern tennis, rely heavily on powerful trunk rotation. This poses a unique challenge to coaches of how to best train trunk rotation. A solid foundation can be achieved using ‘traditional’ training methods such as cable rotations or medicine ball throws. After this, it is desirable to train the stretch shortening cycle to exploit the elastic properties of the athlete’s muscles and tendons. Research tends to suggest that athletes can increase their racquet head speed by around 20% just by utilizing an ‘eccentric’ stretch (3). To produce this pre-stretch in the medicine ball throw, a coach could stand in front of their athlete and throw them the ball. As soon as the ball is caught, the athlete must rapidly decelerate the ball and throw it back mimicking a forehand or backhand. When doing so, keep the medicine ball light to allow power to be developed.
3. Strength endurance is key!

A male tennis player in a grand slam can expect matches to last for up to 5 hours, during which, the athlete may be required to hit 1000 shots (11). To be successful, the player must continue to produce powerful shots. Therefore, strength endurance is particularly important for tennis athletes. To develop endurance, keep the reps high!
4. Make the lower body strong!

The lower body of tennis players must be strong for two reasons; it is the location of most tennis injuries (10), and it contributes to powerful stroke production and fast movement (11). A skilled athlete will transfer force from the lower body to the racquet but, if the legs aren’t strong there won’t be any force to transfer. Research tends to suggest that both knee extension and flexion both contribute to powerful shot production (11). Therefore, it is important to load both movements. As for increasing speed on the court, movement on a tennis court is short, but time constrained. This means the first step must be powerful to get into position early and well balanced. Exercises which promote lower leg, horizontal power, such as weighted horizontal jumps would be a great way to train for this!

Author: Russell Rayner 
1. Ellenbecker, T and Roetert, EP. Age specific isokinetic glenohumeral internal and external rotation strength in elite junior tennis players. J Sci Med Sport 6: 63–70, 2003.
2. Ellenbecker, TS, Roetert, EP, Bailie, DS, Davies, GJ, and Brown, SW. Glenohumeral joint total rotation range of motion in elite tennis players and baseball pitchers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34: 2052–2056, 2002.
3. Elliott, B. The development of racquet speed. Biomech Adv tennis 33–47, 2003.
4. Fernandez, J, Pluim, BM, Mendez-Villanueva, a, and Pluim, BM. Intensity of tennis match play. Br J Sports Med 40: 387–391; discussion 391, 2006.
5. Groppel, JL and Roetert, EP. Applied Physiology of Tennis. Sport Med 14: 260–268, 1992.
6. Kibler, W Ben, Chandler, TJ, Livingston, BP, and Roetert, EP. Shoulder range of motion in elite tennis players Effect of age and years of tournament play. Am J Sports Med 24: 279–285, 1996.
7. Kibler, WB. Biomechanical analysis of the shoulder during tennis activities. Clin Sports Med 14: 79–85, 1995.
8. Kovacs, MS. Applied physiology of tennis performance. Br J Sports Med 40: 381–5; discussion 386, 2006.Available from:
9. O ’donoghue, P and Ingram, B. A notational analysis of elite tennis strategy. J Sports Sci 19: 107115, 2001.
10. Pluim, BM, Staal, JB, Windler, GE, and Jayanthi, N. Tennis injuries: occurrence, aetiology, and prevention. Br J Sports Med 40: 415–423, 2006.
11. Reid, M and Schneiker, K. Strength and conditioning in tennis: current research and practice. J Sci Med Sport 11: 248–256, 2008.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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Netball Conditioning Session

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Netball Conditioning Session – the team at Radford Athletic Development are conducting a training session on Saturday the 11th of February for any netballers in the Ballarat region.

The basic overview for the session:
Warm up
Ball work
Jump/Landing mechanics
Then how to add conditioning into drills.

At all times balls will be included into the session – so getting the physical benefits but also the skill component at the same time!! And of course some fun games throughout the session! Win win!!
Get a start to your preseason campaign and also improve your knowledge on how to physically prepare for the sport of netball.

Session will be happening at the Ballarat Netball Association – Llanberris Reserve

8:30am-10:00am aimed for junior netballers 13-17 years of age
10:30am-12pm aimed at any senior netballers 18+

Cost =$10 (prebooked) or $15 on the day

To book email:
Or PM the page [/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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Should Soccer players lift weights?

Why soccer players should lift weights, and our top five exercises.


Should soccer players lift weights? It is a question I’ve been frequently asked and quite often I’ve found that both players and coaches have been influenced by the traditionalist belief that lifting weights as a soccer player makes you “slow” and hence limits your football ability. This could not be more wrong. Lifting weights regardless of your sport is crucial, not only does it contribute to developing several physical qualities such as speed, agility, acceleration and powerful movements such as jumping; it also helps provide a protective barrier against injury. Like we have mentioned before “a stronger athlete is a more resilient athlete”.

Soccer has continually evolved; the game has become faster and the physical demand on athletes has therefore increased. During a game players are exposed to a variety of explosive movements such as changing direction, sprinting, kicking, jumping, tackling and jostling. Strength plays a key role in all of these movements, as it assists players to consistently perform these actions with greater efficiency. Regardless of the position you play on the park I’m sure you’re aware of the physical demands these actions take upon your body.


From a team perspective it can be highly advantageous for all players to lift as part of a periodised training program. As stated above we know strength assists players in completing high intensity movements more efficiently and the ability to do so has been shown to positively benefit team performance. Teams that sprint further and more frequently have been proven to increase their chance of winning as their players have an increased ability to reach loose ball contests first, dribble past opponents and create/stop goal scoring opportunities.

The ability to withstand higher forces also decreases individual player’s injury risk. Research has shown us that strength training almost halves the risk of injury among soccer players. Reducing injury rates is key as lower injury rates and higher match availability have been shown to correlate with a higher percentage of winning. You only need to look as far back as last year’s fairy-tale story that was Leicester City winning the English Premier League to see just how beneficial an expertly periodised strength program benefits a team. The figure below demonstrates exactly how Leicester’s physical ability gave them the greatest possible chance of success. They suffered the fewest injuries and kept key players on the park all while being able to play a fast-paced counter attacking style of game that utilised the repeat sprint ability of attacking players.

Injury rates in soccer have been well documented with muscle strains ranked as the most commonly occurring injury among professional players. Furthermore, over 80% of all injuries sustained are to the lower limbs. Now we’ve gone over the benefits a periodised strength program you might be wondering what you need to do in the gym to build your strength. We’ve outlined five key exercises all soccer players should complete as part of a balanced training program.


Top 5 exercises for soccer players:


  1. Squat

The squat is a key compound exercise that helps develop lower body strength. Squats can be varied by altering equipment used (i.e. barbell, dumbbell, single leg), depth of squat and loading position (front, back, overhead). Like all exercises it is important to focus on technique before progressing your loading.

  1. Single leg RDL

Multiple benefits from this exercise – balance and proprioception through hip, knee and ankle as you complete the movement on one leg. Then strengthening of the posterior chain predominately the hamstrings as you begin to load the movement. It is also lays the foundation for normal RDL and deadlift variations.

  1. Nordics

“Nords” are an excellent exercise to eccentrically strengthen your hamstring muscle group. Hamstring strains are the most common injury in soccer and Nords have been shown to reduce the incidence and recurrence of hamstring injuries. Completing both hip hinge and knee dominant variations

  1. Bulgarian Split Squat

Performing single leg work is crucial for any field sport athlete and this exercise fits the bill perfectly. You run, jump and kick all on one leg so you need to be strong on one leg.

  1. Pallof Press

Make sure you don’t forget to strengthen your core! There are hundreds of “core” exercises, a lot of which rarely transfer to improving your game on the pitch. The Pallof Press focuses on developing the anti-rotational function of your core muscles. The exercise highly correlates to soccer related movements such as jostling as it assists your body to remain upright so you are not easily pushed off the ball.

Take Home Notes:

  • Strength work does not make you slow.
  • Regular strength work should be completed by all soccer players as part of a balanced training program.
  • Not only does building strength benefit performance it can decrease your risk of injury.
  • There are a range of beneficial exercises but it is key you are taught by an accredited strength coach prior to beginning any new training methods.


Author – Liam Towell

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Training during the Christmas/New Years Period

[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Training during the Christmas/New Years Period.

You have just completed an intense block of training pre-Christmas working on building up some volume and hitting some good speeds throughout drills while always working on the skills, often involving kicking the ball at speed over 50m. Some sessions building up towards the 9-10km session distance.

Now the club has given you a “break” over the Christmas/New Years period varying anywhere from 2 – 6 weeks “off”. There are a couple of ways in which you can view this period of time:

• A well earned break after an intense training block – enjoy yourself over the Holiday period

• Don’t stop training and maintain the really high training loads throughout the period

• Getting a balance between enjoying the holidays and completing the required training

Personally, I like option 3 – you have been given a break from training at the club but are still required to complete training in your own time- but this doesn’t mean you can’t relax a little bit and enjoy the holidays with friends and family – getting the balance correct is crucial though.

If you don’t do anything during your break from the club, you have pretty much wasted all of the hard work you put in pre-Christmas……. Losing the training improvements quite quickly. But the biggest downside of not completing the required training over this break is the increased risk of injury on returning to the club.
The first 2 weeks after the holiday break can be a scary time for your club, as you don’t really know how the players are going to come back. Ideally you should be able to kick off training at a pretty similar volume to where you finished pre-Christmas – and building the speed/ change of direction over the first 1-2 sessions. But……. Those that have done nothing over the holidays are at a massive risk of breaking down because they won’t be able to cope with the big jump in their training loads (their acute to chronic training load ratio….no good…..).
Once again a couple of ways to view this issue:

• Back training right back off and cater for those that haven’t done anything, taking 2-3 weeks to build back to any real intensity or volumes.
• Set a clear standard an expectation that as a club we can’t sit around and wait for the slackers to catch up. It is the individual’s responsibility to come back in good condition. Allowing training to start at a much higher intensity – progressing towards Round 1 much quicker.

So we have established that during the holiday break you need to have a balance between training and relaxing with friends and family, but what exactly should the training involve?

Yes, running volume is certainly important and the key part to this block. Strength work, speed, change of direction and kicking are critical elements to include though! Getting all of these elements ticked off during the break certainly makes the transition back to normal club training 100 times easier.

Maintain your strength training completing 2-3 sessions per week – a stronger athlete is a better athlete and they are more resilient to injury!
At least twice per week complete 4 x 20m accelerations – easiest time to do this is after your warm up for the main running block. And once per week complete some higher speed work over 40-60m gradually building pace to be a top speed by 50m mark.

There are a variety of basic change of direction drills you can do using the goal posts, goal square or a partner. Any drill where there is forwards, backwards and lateral movements will help.

Kicking is essential during the break but often you don’t have someone else to kick with, so see below for a couple of drills you can complete yourself, while also getting some conditioning out of the drill.



The Holiday break is a crucial part to the whole season mess it up and it delays everything else. In saying that, enjoying the holidays with family and friends because it is a long season with minimal rest until September – just make sure you get the balance right between holiday and training!

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