5. The Role of the Slow SSC in Tennis. "Balance is a key element for any good tennis shot," he explains. They travelled on the WTA Tour from 2000 to 2004 and also worked at the Sanchez Casal Tennis Academy in Barcelona, Spain. To re-state, re-acceleration/first step ability requires both maximum and explosive strength abilities. Also known as the 5-10-5, this is the most popular combine drill used to measure quickness and agility. They differ from traditional speed training in that they incorporate a lot more lateral movement. To target your upper body, move through the ladder with your hands while maintaining a push-up position. That means lifting heavy loads and performing explosive jumps & throws. Agility exercises — ladder lateral shuffles, cone drills, partner shuffles and backpedal sprints — can improve your ability to quickly change direction. Being agile not only helps you get to the ball faster and prepare better for shots, but it also allows you to have the proper balance in order to hit the ball. A player must make a perceptual decision based on relevant cues - the server's stance, ball toss, arm action, racquet path etc. by assessing speed, … If not, it’s referred to as speed, agility & quickness. Equipment • Masking tape • Measuring tape • Stopwatch • Tennis court Directions 1. Real tennis at kinetix: agility coordination. Agility drills: these can vary, but may include jumps from side to side. It has been said that outside of sport-specific skills, agility is the primary determining factor for success in sport. speed and agility for tennis is a multifactorial concept and so requires an approach to testing that is both sport specific and multifaceted. Here are a couple examples. So grab a partner and give these drills a go – before hitting is best – ensuring you’ve had a complete warm-up. Having a more stable posture will maximize power output and hence the outcome of your shot. Second, staying low when changing direction facilitates a better muscle length-tension relationship. These are in no way specific to the demands of our sport. Look at figure 1 below. "Ideally you want your upper body to remain rather straight, your head very still, and then you rotate around this axis which does not move." Wildcard application and selection process, ANZ Tennis Hot Shots courts and Kid Zones, Ballkids, Officials, Coaches & Volunteers, Australian Grand Slam Coaches’ Conference, Dylan Alcott ready for title defence at Roland Garros, The court is calling: Lessons for playing on clay, De Minaur, Millman to lead Australia’s ATP Cup team in 2021. Both are relevant, at different times and both have a reactive component (it’s presence is much higher in fast SSC movements). This is a problem. First, what does it even mean? This may or may not be true. Does it deal with having fast feet (which is a misleading term in itself). How are you training for tennis? Probably the best measure of COD ability in tennis is the 505 test (figure 2) because the distances are more reflective of what you'd see on court. A while back I wrote a post about lower-body plyometrics. While when recovering after your serve, you'd likely think of this movement as pre-planned. When I tried to play the tennis being careful not to cause the tension in my muscles,I felt my strokes have improved and had consistency and control. Top Ranked Agility Sports. Tomaz says: November 20, 2015 at 7:37 am. Or by the positioning of your opponent? The value of agility in today’s workforce cannot be overstated. Sign up for the Mattspoint newsletter so you won't miss out! This shift means that there’s less adherence to stricter roles and hierarchies. Start at first cone, sprint forward to the inside of the second cone and back-pedal around it in a clockwise motion – keep your body facing forward and use small fast steps. To forward and backward sprints. Businesses are adapting faster than ever as they move toward flatter organizational structures. Simona Halep - an example of all 3 phases, braking, planting and propulsion. A player must make a perceptual decision based on relevant cues - the server's stance, ball toss, arm action, racquet path etc. Another 17% of the time was spent between 7-12 km/h, 3% between 12.01-18 km/h and a measly 0.3% between 18.01-24 km/h. For example, a winger who can quickly get behind a defender by changing directions on the fly is considered to be an agile player. Accelerate out of the second cone to the inside of the third cone and similarly back-pedal, this time anti-clockwise. In this blog post Ian Fisher outlines what agility training is and then goes on to detail agility as a component of speed, and its relationship to change of direction speed.Read on to find out some agility training exercises and drills for agility in the gym, followed by practical application and examples! Well, as we’ve discussed previously, relative strength (i.e. by Matt Kuzdub. Every time a player makes a movement towards the oncoming ball, they have perceived the ball, made a decision and only then can they execute a movement. We’ve already seen how deceleration ability plays a major role in helping protect the shoulder during high speed serves but we can also look at deceleration ability from a movement perspective. A recent study (Pereira et al 2017) took a closer look at these parameters in professional (ATP Futures level) players. As you approach the oncoming ball, the braking forces to set-up for the shot can be quite high. It'll also help guide the organization of training in very specific ways. Young et al (2006) propose this definition: "A rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction IN RESPONSE TO a stimulus. 505 Test - Subject begins at the far left). Also in sports such as tennis where the ball moves very fast in a … In other words, there's no stimulus, just get back to your recovery spot as fast as you can, right? In other words, after you’ve decelerated & hit your shot, you must re-accelerate towards your recovery position - this re-acceleration is your propulsive phase. Interestingly, the arguments of the presentation were based on a review paper that was published in 2006. Returning serve would be classified as an agility task. Just like all physical skills balance can be worked on and improved. Agility is in fact a VERY important quality every tennis player must possess. There are 2 key factors in this definition. Focus on acceleration, speed between movements and deceleration. Plyometric activities that emphasize the fast component - like hurdle jumps, tuck jumps, depth & drop jumps - in multiple directions, are extremely effective in improving reactive strength, a key factor in improving COD ability. June 11, 2017 Gone are the days when only senior leaders had to manage strategy and only business managers had to look at finances. In other words, there’s a transition between braking and propulsion where no movement is occurring but high forces are still being generated. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets. For example, Paul, Biswas, Shukla, and Sandhu (2011) reported a 34% improvement in agility and a remarkable 61% improvement in serve precision following eight weeks of agility training in tennis players. Essentially, lower body fat can have big impacts on your abilities to change direction rapidly & efficiently as there is less nonfunctional mass (nonfunctional in this case meaning, non-contractile). In other words, when running and jumping (for example), we store and utilize elastic energy, thereby augmenting power output to levels higher than if disregarding elasticity altogether. Furthermore, to my knowledge, strength training is the best way to improve body composition (i.e. Sports that are played with a racquet and ball -- such as tennis, squash, racquetball and ping pong -- are effective coordination exercises. In tennis, the slow SSC component does play a vital role in certain situations. Lie on the ground on your back, spread your arms to the sides in a T position, pushing your palms to … Tennis is a sport where hand-eye coordination is important so that your hand and the other parts of your body quickly react to do the right moves. If you don’t have a partner, hit the ball against a wall or tilt the ping pong table up to hit the ball to yourself. Coaches & trainers from a variety of sports use these terms liberally and interchangeably. For further information, visit www.tennisfitness.com.au. Furthermore, as we saw from Pereira et al (2017), the distances covered are very short in tennis. Start to play tennis by throwing the ball underhand, landing it in the service boxes. Simply put, increase concentric leg strength and you'll see improvements in first step ability - whether that's moving to the ball or recovering after you've hit. That means that if you’re already spending multiple hours on the tennis court doing a variety of drills and point scenarios, you’re already training a lot of these elastic qualities. These are the moments that make or break competitions, that birth the richness in … It can be used for a number of speed and agility drills and is particularly useful for sports such as tennis and basketball that requires fast and co-ordinated footwork. Slow jog to start and repeat. Place six cones on the court as shown, three metres apart. Is it relevant then? The 5-Cone Agility Drill. This definition respects the cognitive components of visual scanning and decision making that contribute to agility performance in sport.". This is exactly the same as improving your footwork for tennis. Another problem. First, rally lengths were just over 4 seconds long, on average. Pro Agility Shuttle. Training for Agility Part 1: In the gym Unless you’re naturally very strong to begin with, improving strength capacity will also augment/potentiate all of these other qualities - reactive strength, explosive strength, power etc. One of the best tools for doing this and indeed for all footwork training is the tennis ladder. Figure 2. My objective in this post was to distinguish between agility and COD. A Closer Look at Agility in Tennis. Good anticipatory skills will help you react faster to the oncoming shot, but you still have to move to the right spot, and that requires superior physical qualities - ones that will enhance movement skills. • Shuffle (side step) into the court until both feet are over the singles sideline (Photos 2-3). Let’s start with agility. Have two balls available for this drill, complete 2-3 sets, and rest 1-2 minutes between sets. 10U tennis is tennis sized right for age and ability! Place cones on the court as shown. Ok, then why not just perform plyometric exercises to improve COD? If you have a tough time planting your foot and changing directions, your opponent will have a much easier time keeping an eye on you. No spam or fluff - just the most comprehensive articles on tennis. Here’s a quick recap. What you’re not doing however, is improving your muscular strength & neuromuscular capabilities - this has to be done with sufficient load in the weight room. This list is based on the ratings of the factors of success considered most important by visitors to this website. This drill requires 3 cones, with a series of complete changes of direction. In tennis, this is pretty evident. In other words, the better able you are at absorbing high forces, the faster and more effective your braking/deceleration ability and the smoother your transition to begin the propulsion phase. At the most basic level balance is all about distributing your weight evenly so that you can remain upright and steady. For example, you might start with a high-knee march forward through each box, and then progress to a lateral scissor if you’re more advanced. Agility is most commonly seen when playing very efficient (well timed) shots and having the ability to adjust to difficult shots with no apparent effort. Many of you have probably heard of the acronym SAQ. Agility ladder tennis drills. Don’t believe me? If that were the case, wouldn't we classify the recovery in tennis as a COD task only? For example, the quadriceps femoris muscle group of the thigh is used to support the body in running, during stroke execution, in movement around the court, and generating power in the serve. Technique: • Start outside the doubles alley facing the net (Photo 1). Your partner will call out another number before you get to the first cone, so turn and move towards that cone and keep repeating sequence. The pre-planned agility (sequence) was found to be faster compared to the specific movement agility test (random) with significant difference … TENNIS-SPECIFIC AGILITY ENDURANCE TEST Aim The aim of this test is to measure the ability of a tennis player to be able to consistently repeat bursts of high intensity court movement throughout an entire match. Most team sports and individual sports like tennis and badminton call for higg levels of agility. Young et al are some of the leading researchers in sport science on this topic. Lastly, and perhaps most intriguing for me was the movement velocities. Forward/Backward Z Drill Smaller courts, shorter … Run back to the center and touch it. Agility is necessary in all types of sports disciplines, but it is essential in those involving obstacles or opponents that must be avoided. A player must make a perceptual decision based on relevant cues - the server's stance, ball toss, arm action, racquet path etc. They’ve worked with Sam Stosur, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova. Braking forces are linked to eccentric strength - and in the case of movement, lower body eccentric strength. In tennis, as we’ll see later in this post, a player almost NEVER reaches top running speeds. The more force you can generate into the ground AND the faster you can generate that force, the more effective your propulsive ability will be, getting you back into a better ready position for the next shot. We’ll define both terms, link tennis to each of them and provide a mechanical rationale to develop the latter quality, COD. Both fast & slow components are seen during plyometric activities. Muscles produce more force at specific lengths, if they are too long (legs fully extended) or too short (legs fully bent), force will be minimized. Let's compare this to the definition of COD ability, “a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction that is PRE-PLANNED”. Focus on acceleration, speed between movements and deceleration. That leaves us with agility. While COD deals only with physical/technical qualities, agility encompasses both perceptual/decision making factors ALONG WITH COD factors. The argument was that coordination is the key. But I don't think it really matters. We distinguished between fast and slow components of the SSC (stretch-shortening cycle). This is why training COD irrespective of agility, is still important. Accelerate out of the third cone towards the fourth, and repeat this pattern until all six cones are completed. The fast component refers to this elastic utilization when ground contact times are very short while the slow component deals with longer ground contact times. Concentric (muscle shortening phase) strength & power is the propulsive phase of COD. At an elite level, I think so. Agility is a key characteristic for success in tennis where you speed up, slow down and constantly change direction – all the while maintaining balance and control in some high pressure situations. An astonishing 79% of the time, players were moving between 0 and 7 km/h!! The former involves a perceptual decision, while the latter does not. Why would this be important? examples of agility exercises provides a comprehensive and comprehensive pathway for students to see progress after the end of each module. Here are a couple examples. That's what defines good change-of-direction ability in tennis. In another post, we'll explore the perceptual side of agility in more detail. In this post, I’ll attempt to differentiate between agility and it’s little brother, change-of-direction (COD). Does it mean being explosive? I hope, that's how you'll begin (or continue) to train. Will your recovery be influenced by where your shot lands on the other side of the net? Using an agility ladder, select a method of moving through the ladder. Quickness, on the other hand, has multiple issues. Tuck jumps, going from a vertical squat to a top jump with extended legs to land. Examples include body weight, body mass, body fat %, limb lengths, girth measurements etc. Speed and agility are two of the most significant components of athletic and sporting success. Returning serve would be classified as an agility task. It doesn't mean having "fast-feet" - from a mechanical perspective, this doesn't have any relevance to movement in tennis (or any sport for that matter). Being able to react instantly, apply force rapidly in any direction, and redirect that force as needed is the mark of a true athlete. You probably take a lot of this for granted, having mastered … Fitness Testing for Tennis . Based on this knowledge and the sub-components of COD presented by Young et al (2002), I’d like to focus on anthropometry & leg muscle qualities - and their relationship to COD movement abilities. What matters is that you know the difference between the 2 terms and the fact that COD's part is STILL relevant. Slow jog to start and repeat. I’ve spoken on many occasions about the modern game of tennis - check out this article on the WTCA site for a more detailed look. Melbourne, Australia, 23 May 2013 | Nathan and Giselle Martin | Australian Tennis Magazine. This is a great core exercise for every tennis player, as it strengthens the obliques, abs and hip flexors, and at the same time, it stretches the lower back, IT-band and chest. Skater with toe tap in box Stand on the left side of the ladder, facing away from the ladder. Not to mention you have to hit a tennis ball! Smaller courts, shorter … There are many drills and variations that can be used to work these two separate skills during a training session including ball drops, fan drills, spider drills and cross court drills. Although COD is NOT agility, agility does require COD. Agility can be characterized by the ability to maintain postural stability in conditions that require changes in speed and direction in response to the environmental demands. Reactive strength (I’ve spoken a couple times about the importance of reactive strength in tennis, highlighting it’s prevalence during the split-step) and concentric strength & power. Both are EXTREMELY important for successful COD ability in tennis. Isometric strength allows athletes to maintain a low position when changing direction. Recall that tennis is characterized by short rallies, short distances and low movement velocities. Great, Osamu, the first step is awareness of the tensions in your body as soon as you do that, your body will naturally relax a bit. Agility is critical for athletic performance in sports such as soccer, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, volleyball, baseball, and softball. Run to the right cone and touch it with your right hand. And to exert a lot of force, we need to have exceptional leg strength, as we’ll see next. When split-stepping, you have less time so your ground contact time will be shorter - the shorter this time, the higher your impulse must be to effectively propel yourself towards the ball. Which sports are rated highest for agility? So grab a partner and give these drills a go – before hitting is best – ensuring you’ve had a complete warm-up. If you have too much weight going forwards, backwards or to either side you will lose balance. June 12, 2012: Nike Tennis Camps sits down with Jay Lapidus, former head men's tennis coach at Duke University to discuss the importance of balance while hitting the ball. If so, you’d be wrong. Real tennis at kinetix: agility coordination. For those of you who’ve never heard of the word ‘anthropometry’ before, we’ll keep it simple. Just as in the ABCs of the car analogy (Alignment, Braking and Center of Gravity), we now need to look at working on another version for tennis: Agility, Balance and Coordination. Start at the first cone, sprint forward to the second cone, get around the second cone and sprint backwards to third cone, continuing the pattern until you reach the last cone. See the difference? What Young left out however, was the 2 other types of muscle contractions, eccentric (muscle lengthening phase) and isometric (no change in muscle length but force produced nonetheless). Sports > List > Tennis > Fitness > Testing. And tennis is already VERY plyometric to begin with. A Closer Look at Agility in Tennis. Here are some interesting results from the study. You need to be able to produce force and you need to be able to produce it quickly. It has been said that outside of sport-specific skills, agility is the primary determining factor for success in sport. In the case of COD, sport scientists call this the plant phase. 34. If you lack isometric strength, you won't be able to maintain your body in place (in essence, you'll be fighting against momentum - it pushing you one way, you wanting to go the other way). Why strength train? (Message automatically replaces this text), importance of reactive strength in tennis, protect the shoulder during high speed serves. Whether you have the ball or are moving without it, agility is what you need to do so quickly. Remember, from a previous post (Strength for Tennis), when velocities are low (around 0-7 km/h), forces have to be high, otherwise it’ll be a challenge to produce movement. That said, let's not beat around the bush, a well-rounded strength, power and plyometric program is essential in tennis. The sport with the highest agility rating is currently Rugby 7s, followed by Badminton and Ultimate. While when recovering after your serve, you'd likely think of this movement as pre-planned. When serving, the slow SSC is emphasized as you have a greater knee bend (amplitude), which will allow you more time to develop power. At an elite level, anticipation skills will be quite high for most players (I mean they wouldn’t get to that level without them). One of them is highly dependant on the other. I attended a presentation a couple years back at a tennis federation - the topic was COD ability. Don’t get me wrong, coordination is important, but it’s only 1 aspect. Complete 2–3 sets of 45-second reps, with 1-2 minutes rests in between. A ladder is a simple training device that helps to improve co-ordination and leg speed. But it’s also a term loosely used in tennis training circles around the world. Agility is quite important on offense because you do have to change directions a lot in order to keep the defense from getting comfortable. You may think that a simple spider drill (video below) is an agility drill. The total distance covered per rally was about 5.5m. See our in-depth technique training on this drill here Statement of Purpose This is important for 2 reasons. For instance, when serving, you don’t want the loading phase of the serve to be too quick or too long, you’ll lose power output in the latter and won’t optimize it in the former. A tennis training program has to meet the demands of an all-round physically challenging, individual sport. As reported by Spireti et al (2015), having a lower body mass AND a lower % body fat ratio, relative to strength, is also linked with faster COD test times. The presenter was refuting strength training as a key component to this COD ability. 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