Special from Tennis Fitness Solutions
"The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen!" Herb Brooks hollered to his team. As coach of the U.S. hockey team competing at the 1982 Olympic Games, Brooks meant it for ice play, but the phrase holds true for tennis, too.
If you can't get to the ball in a well-balanced and composed position, your chances of hitting an excellent shot aren't great. You may be able to play great for 30 minutes or an hour, but what about two or three hours? Everyone has their breaking point - except for Rafael Nadal, it seems - and as a coach, I try to push this breaking point further and further in my players.
The key variables that I focus on are speed, strength, endurance, recovery, balance, flexibility, and mental toughness. Remember that the mind is attached to the body, and a strong body will help create a strong mind. Breaking down the ingredients of playing to your potential is important so you can focus on one thing at a time. That will allow you to concentrate on making each variable better.
Here are tips to help your "legs feed the wolf."
Strength Training: Weight lifting for the tennis player can be a little tricky. I recommend high repetitions and lower weights for strength training. Adding bulk and size can hurt a player's mobility and ultimately tire out the player due to carrying extra weight around the court, even if it is muscle. Being stronger will improve your power, pace and accuracy. Just as today's baseball players hit the ball more often and further thanks for strength training, your swing speed and racquet control will benefit.