Every athlete vying to become the next top tennis player will need a particular set of skills to compete against the extraordinary players that currently grace the tennis court. But what do these successful athletes have in common?
Tennis matches being performed on the world stage can last up to 5 hours, and these athletes will typically run about 4 or 5 miles during a single match. The body needs to move in a variety of directions in quick succession. There are many physical demands that the sport will have on these individuals.
Physical Strength and Endurance
Top players use strength and power to produce offensive and defensive shots from anywhere on the court. The pace of the game requires players to maintain their performance throughout the match. They need enough endurance to maintain this form and performance throughout the game.
Flexibility and Agility
All the body positions that professional tennis players require on the tennis court require a significant amount of flexibility and agility. This includes lunging forward to cover a shot, extending the whole body to reach a wide ball, or stretching wide to return a serve from the opponent.
Maintaining Dynamic Balance
The ability to start and stop quickly provides a tennis player with more time to get into position to set up the ball for a hit and to recover for the next shot. However, these movements require players to maintain their balance. Dynamic balance allows players to make these frequent direction changes during a tennis match.
The Athlete’s Body Composition
A person’s body composition refers to the amount of muscle, bone, fat, and water in the body. Pro athletes need to consider the amount of muscle mass and fat they are carrying around while they are running around on the court. Male tennis players can aim for about 10 to 18 % body fat, while female tennis players can aim for between 16 and 25% body fat.
When players compete on higher levels, their body composition becomes more important. When the body fat composition is too high, it may affect the speed of the athlete. Pro tennis players who are aiming for the top need to focus on strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, balance, and body composition.