Category Archives: Tennis Instruction

Train Like Fed

Sports Participation Trophies: A New Perspective by Brad Jubin of APIVEO

From Dr. Larry Lauer‘s Blog –

Sport psychology consultant to:

USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI;

Michigan State University Men’s Tennis team;

East Lansing High School Girls Varsity Basketball,

St. Stephens Tennis Academy in Austin, Texas,

Professional Tennis Player Marcio Torres,

and many other athletes from youth to professional.

I would like to begin by saying that I am not in favor of “participation” trophies for youth athletes. The reason is not that we are giving out trophies to every player; instead, it’s the lack of creativity in what we call them and the meaning behind them. After coaching dozens of youth teams, I know that an eight- year-old player who came to practice, worked hard, played in the games and cheered on his/her teammates is not excited to be recognized as a “participant.” As parents and coaches, we have to be able to come up with something more meaningful than “participant.”

Kids love getting trophies and adults love handing them out. Trophies are a good thing. However, there is something missing here: the sense of accomplishment.

What is Mental Toughness – Coaching and the Zone

Brian1-240x300Brian Lomax of Peformance Xtra in Marlborough, Mass writes:

If you’re a sports fan, you have certainly witnessed a coach seemingly losing his mind on the sidelines.  He’s yelling at his players, he’s castigating officials, or he’s just throwing a tantrum.  Why do some coaches behave this way?  Does this behavior motivate players?  Does it help them play better?  Does it help them get in the zone?  And what is the job of a coach anyway?

Coaches can have a tremendous effect on the body chemistry of their players in both a good and bad way.  When a player makes a mistake during an event, and a coach immediately screams at him, what do you think happens to his body chemistry?  Does it get closer to being in the zone or does it move away?  In all likelihood, it moves away.  Being yelled at instills anxiety and fear in many athletes which will induce the body to release stress hormones to deal with the threat.  Were fear and anxiety in our list of characteristics of the zone?  No, they certainly were not because those things don’t help you play better.  Stress hormones reduce our ability to make good decisions and they also affect our ability to control our motor skills and balance.

Read the whole article – HERE

Muscles Worked-out While Playing Tennis

Josh Basha on the “Basha Tennis” website has a good article on how tennis helps make us more fit (Click HERE).

Here is a little preview:

While many people tend to think of tennis as an upper-body sport, the truth is that few sports compare to tennis in terms of the number of muscle groups used. Tennis puts almost every muscle group in your body to work, and the amount of energy exerted during a match can easily burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes.

Working those Legs

Tennis is a great all around cardiovascular workout that helps strengthen muscles in the arms, core, and legs.

Pay attention the next time you play tennis to how often you are actually standing still – chances are, it’s not for more than a few seconds at a time.

Great Core Exercise

Often referred to as your “core” muscles, the muscles in your lower back and stomach are what controls your agility and balance.

The article also has good suggestions for improving your strength and conditioning.

Preventing and Treating Blisters

From the USTA’s “Player to Player” Column:

From Ken, Highland Park, IL:

Usually having your hands toughen up from playing is a good thing. When you haven’t played for sometime that is when a blister usually happens. Putting the hand in hot water and washing it a lot helps. You might want to look at his grip size and also might want to try some over grip. Another thing could be the way he is holding the racket.

From Mary, Osprey, FL:

I am Mary, now of Osprey, Florida and I am speaking of experience with my son from the time he was a junior player thru college. He is 51 now and still plays competitive tennis and loves it still so all may not be lost.

My son probably was not as bad as you describe your son but he had the bumps under the skin and pain. He tried the tennis glove, pads and various ways to try to relieve the problem. He did finally get the way he gripped the racket changed and helped. My son had the heel or very end of the racket held so that it laid right in that fatty part of the heel of the hand. He moved the racket so the end of it did not press into that part of his hand so much. Eventually he had (during tennis career in college) he had to have carpel tunnel surgery as his right arm from the hand up started swelling and the pain was excruciating to his elbow. The carpel tunnel surgery left a scar and tenderness such that he had to adjust the racket differently again and took a little time but eventually was ok. I am not sure if this helps much but maybe helps to know it does happen and I will say good luck and hope he can find a solution so as not to have to do the carpel tunnel surgery but I am assuming it is where that nerve can be affected too.

From Rick, Lugoff, SC:

The Bionic Glove for tennis would be a good addition to his “wardrobe”.

From Tom (PTR Instructor), Manchester, NH:

Dear Karen, it shouldn’t go with the territory. I would definitely try the Wilson Pro Overgrips. Best buy is 12 pack.

Also to help get rid of the callous and to prevent it, get some lotion that has stearic acid in it…usually it is in the cheaper brands. Dollar store stuff; ‘ ‘Perfect Purity’ brand Advanced Lubricating skin lotion.

Why is it happening…sounds like he is holding the butt cap or bottom of the grip a little high in his hand. He could try and choke up just a little (1/2″?) so the butt cab is on the heel pad or better yet find a certified tennis pro (PTR/USPTA) and ask him to check his grip and bio-mechanics of his strokes to find the root cause and how to fix it. Should be just a one time lesson for even a half hour to find the problem….more to fix it if you can’t get it on your own. Good luck…

From Don, Livonia, MI:

Try some Teflon tape on his hand. You can find it at a bowling center or pro shop. Bowlers use it for callous & blisters on there thumbs & fingers.

From Peter, Westport, CT:

My name is Peter and I am a certified teaching pro in Westport, CT.  I suggest using a nail file to shave the callous down.  It gets rid of the excess tough skin and is painless.  As for the grip I suggest tourna grips for him to use.

*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.

Here’s a few from USTA’s LinkIn page:

Aldrin Deloria • Definitely use overgrips, and change them every 2-4 hitting sessions YMMV. If you use overgrips beyond their useful life, it increases potential for blisters. I recommend asking your local tennis shop/tennis coach what they recommend. Perhaps also re-evaluate the tennis grip size/stroke fundamentals with a good coach.

Some people just have sensitive hands, so they may need a thin bandage in that area, or possibly a “tennis glove”.

Gary Caron • I had one student who suffered from blisters and we found that using rubbing alcohol worked to harden or dry out the area where it blistered so he would use nightly and then did not have any issues. He was a National Level Player and trained 2 -4 hours daily so it was becoming an issue until we tried that. Also agree with the comment about monitoring and changing overgrips as needed,.

and here is a thrad from the Tennis Warehouse Blog:

How to Keep Improving

This article is about the three stages of performance.

This article – from “The Tennis Space” blog – was written by Matt Cuccaro of the Ivan Lendl Tennis Academy.

Since joining Junior Sports Corporation in 2006, Matt Cuccaro has assisted the development of athletes, coaches, parents and administrators on the mental aspects of high performance. As Director of Mental Training, his passion areas include golf with Hank Haney International Golf Academy and tennis with Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy. Matt’s clients range from the junior level to the highest professional ranks around the world in helping them reach full potential through workshops, individual meetings, speaking engagements and publications. Follow him on Twitter: @MentalCoachMatt.

Established in May 2011, the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy produces the finest tennis training and competition for juniors to ultimately reach the college or professional ranks. Ivan Lendl, former World No. 1 player and winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles, serves as Director of Instruction and is dedicated to the development of each junior tennis player.

For more information about Ivan Lendl IJTA:, 888.936.5327.

Here is an excerpt:

The “evaluate and active rest stage” is often skimmed over or eliminated altogether because it may not show immediate results. However, if the athlete does not have an opportunity to assess themself and take time for other off-course needs, long-term development suffers. Success in life is a continuous process of evaluating, learning, and developing; which takes a significant amount of time and energy. Without proper evaluation and rest, athletes typically lose perspective on their sport and life as a whole, resulting in burnout and shorter, less fulfilling athletic careers.

Once the evaluation is complete, it’s time to create the next training plan to increase overall potential by preparing once again.

Combat Shoulder Pain Before It Starts

The human shoulder joint

The human shoulder joint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From The USTA Texas Section’s Sports Science page (some excerpts):

By Brent Brotzman, MD

Shoulders are designed to allow our bodies to reach up into trees or into the highest cabinet — but not to generate a 130 mile an hour serve or throw a 100 mile an hour fast ball. Injuries to the shoulder in tennis are a relatively common occurrence in both the professional athletes like Patrick Rafter experienced, as well as the weekend player.

Repetitive overuse, such as serving multiple matches within a short period of time, often results in rotator cuff tendonitis. You have probably felt this tendonitis by a burning or stinging pain on the outer portion of your shoulder, approximately two inches down from the tip of your shoulder.

While many people lift weights to strengthen the pectoral, deltoid and bicep muscles, few recreational athletes strengthen the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff strengthening is extremely important because this muscle and tendon group also functions to push the ball portion of the joint downward during throwing to allow more clearance under the arch of the shoulder. If the rotator cuff is weak, the clearance is decreased and the rotator cuff and the ball of the shoulder essentially bang or get pinched underneath the arch of the shoulder during the throwing motion.

This can become a vicious cycle. The rotator cuff is slightly weak, so it does not allow shoulder clearance under the arch of the shoulder during throwing. As a result, the rotator cuff and the ball are repetitively pinched, or impinged. This inflames the rotator cuff and the shoulder joint, which causes more pain, inflammation, and more weakness – and the vicious cycle continues.

Read more – HERE – including 10 recommendations for avoiding shoulder injuries

Top Shape Tennis

What is Top Shape Tennis?

Top Shape Tennis is designed by a former ATP Tennis Professional Tennis player & a Elite Personal Trainer – the program is a online based tennis-specific training fitness system geared towards enhancing the shape of any tennis players no matter what level you are playing at – a great starting program for the beginning tennis player to the most seasoned recreational tennis athlete.

What does Top Shape Tennis consist of?

By participating in Top Shape Tennis you will get a 30 day tennis-specific training program that are built on 5 levels. Every 7th day you will receive a new training program that advances you to the next level. Additionally, once you sign up you will receive a customized nutrition program, daily educational and inspirational blog posts and customer service support provided by our Personal Training Coaches.

What kinds of workout do I get?

Since tennis is a high-impact sport the program has been designed with low-impact training exercises called Fusion Functional Training to further strengthen you as a tennis player on the tennis court to keep yourself balanced & injury free. The functional training technique enhances your power, agility, and endurance. The Top Shape Tennis workout system provides you with a range of various exercise techniques that will enhance your game on the court. These exercise routines includes conditioning techniques, core strengthening exercises, resistance training, plyometrics training, and breathing techniques. The program was designed to maximize the results for anyone who wants to maximize their tennis performance within 30 days.

The Top Shape Challenge program is a competitive tennis fitness program that is weight loss/tone based. This challenge is for you who want to both take part in the Top Shape tennis program but also want to compete for some amazing prizes provided by our participating partners & shape up at the same time! It will benefit you in 3 ways – shape you up, improve your tennis game & you get a chance to win amazing prizes.

You will receive a 1 hour exercise program during your 30 day training period where you will follow a customized nutrition- and tennis specific training program. You can do all the exercise moves from home, at the gym or even on the tennis court.

During your 30 day Top Shape Challenge tennis fitness program you will also receive daily inspirational blog posts that will provide you with additional tips/tricks in how to improve your tennis game. You will receive training inspiration in how to not only become a stronger tennis player but also how to stay injury free while doing the thing you love – to play tennis!

What Can I Win?

The winner of the Top Shape Monthly Challenge will win prizes provided by Head, Maui Jim, Chobani & much more.

How Do I win the Top Shape Challenge?

The Top Shape Tennis Team will choose 10 participants who have achieved the best results based on the measurements provided & on the before & after pictures that have been provided to us. Once the 10 finalist have been chosen these finalist will be added to our draw voting challenge on our Facebook page – where the winner will be chosen by the one who received the most liked votes.

Cost: $54.95
Duration: 30 Days
Start: The 1st of Every Month

To sign up – CLICK HERE

For more information – CLICK HERE

Practice like a Pro

Steve G Tennis did a great article back in October about how pro’s practice vs. how everyone else practices.  He feature a video of Rafael Nadal practicing.  You can see the video below.  To see the article click the link at the end.  Here is the opening paragraph from the article:

The difference between the top players in the world and everyone else is mainly strokes, footwork, strategy and the mental game. But what most people don’t realize is that these differences start in the way you practice and play tennis.

Watch any pro tennis player ranked in the top 100 and examine the way they practice.Chances are, if you have the opportunity to watch their practice – you’ll be stunned at the level of intensity and commitment they possess on every single shot they hit.

Rafael Nadal is the perfect example of this.

Exercise Physiology: Does time of Day Impact Performance?

This study suggests that, in training their athletes for competition, coaches must consider not only the date of competition but also the actual time of day in which it will take place.  An athlete’s training program can then be adjusted so that he or she is at peak preparedness at the optimal time of day.

Read ,ore at the USTA Sports Science site – HERE

Tennis Elbow Explained


The Non Dominant Hand and Uncoiling

Tennis Nutrition: Try A Banana To Increase Your Tennis Stamina

Tennis bananaBecause when you’re playing hard, you sweat out a lot of nutrients your body needs. And in the extreme heat, you’re going to perspire much more profusely and lose those nutrients at a much faster rate.

Two of the most important nutrients your body loses are sodium and potassium.  And if you want to be able to kick it in to the next gear and push past these conditions, without collapsing or being forced to retire, you’re going to have to replenish those nutrients asap!

And bananas are great for this, because they are often dubbed one of the most potassium-packed food on the market – absolutely great for your tennis nutrition.

This from the comments:

Your tip on bananas is right on! As an attribute conditioning coach I can personally attest to the truth concerning the vital importance you tell about of the nutrients like sodium and potassium in hard working folks in hot conditions! While training with the US Army Special Forces at Ft. Bragg, NC for jungle warfare conditions we all supplemented with sodium in our water, and ate bananas whenever we could. It can get real humid and hot during the summer at Ft. Bragg NC! … whew!!

This article is excerpted from – Read the entire article – HERE

Developing a top tennis player – The ITF guidelines


If you go to the International tennis federation‘s web site you will find ”

By Habtu Afework (Ethiopia)


6-8 years old
· Main objective to develop interest
· Introduce the general idea and rules of tennis. Install sport discipline.
· Practice On a mini tennis court.
· 3-4 sessions a week, each session not longer tan 45 minutes. Group lessons.
· Introduce group / team competition. Different drills with points and games.
· 50% tennis – 50% other sport. Soccer, handball, basketball, swimming, etc.
· Note: Ah ball games must be in mini courts using plastic junior balls.

9-11 years old
· Main objective to develop technique and tactical skills
· Use proper tennis courts.
· All strokes should be learnt. Execute all spins.
· Develop basic court movement.
· 1 hour 3-4 times a week.
· Singles and doubles strategies and match practice.
· Tournament rules and regulations.
· Competition singles and doubles.
· 70% tennis 30% other sport

12-14 years old
· Main objective to technique and tactical interpretation and to develop physical
fitness and mental toughness
· Develop style of play.
· Video analysis of all strokes & Review

· Play on different court surfaces (hard, clay, etc.)
· On and off court conditioning. Introduce proper warm-up and cool down.
· Introduce sport psychology (mental efficiency) play to win.
· 2-3 hours a day, 4-5 times a week group lesson.
· Competition singles and doubles.
· 85% tennis 15% other sport
· Note: Based on the standard of fitness, testing methods need to be applied 2-3
times a year in order to assess the weaknesses.
· Before the beginning of the training term (or year) the coach should obtain a
medical certificate from each player e.g. Certification from General
15-16 year old (intermediate level)
· Further development of all basic strokes
· Specific training methods to measure the fitness level
· On and off court fitness programme
· Preparation for high performance level
· Special emphasis on match situation practise
· Practise on different court surfaces
· Group and tailor made – training session
· Mental toughness training
· 3-4 hours training a day 4-5 times a week
· Competition singles and doubles

16-18 year old (advanced level)

· Development of individuals best level
· Specific training methods to measure the strokes and fitness level
· On and off court fitness programme
· Increase the training volume and intensity progressively
· Stabilise the strokes technique and improve the best result for a longer time
· Special emphasis on serve, return and match practise
· Mental toughness training
· 3-4hours a day 5-6 times a week
· Competition singles and doubles

In addition to the Age Specific Goals, there is other useful information in the report.  See the whole article – HERE


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