5 Speed Training Tips for Tennis Players

2. Never Train in Straight Lines

Think about how you play for a moment. How often do you move forwards? How often do you move backwards? How often do you move sideways? What about going backwards for a smash?

As you can see, tennis requires a multitude of movements. Only a few situations requires the player to run forward.

More: The ABCs of Tennis Footwork

If you were training for the 100-meter sprint, straight line running is acceptable, but for tennis (and most other sports), you have to learn how to move quickly in many directions.

Straight-line training has its place in your program, but should not be the only type of speed training you do.

3. Train Over Short Distances

Think about the average distance you must cover to reach each shot. It's typically shorter distances.

When you're training for speed, you only need to be training over very short distances, such as five to 10 meters. You want to focus on training your body for quick, short bursts, not long distances.

4. Don't Forget Your Footwork

Training yourself to move faster is only one component to improving your effectiveness on the court. After you get to the ball, your job isn't done. You still have to adjust your position relative to the ball to be able to hit it well.

If you're too close or too far away from the ball you won't be able to make a meaningful shot. And more often than not, you'll have to hit several balls in a row, which means recovering well after one shot and getting to the next ball. All of this requires good footwork.

Roger Federer is considered to have the best footwork on tour and therefore the killer speed that comes with it.

More: Move Like Federer

Ladder and cone-based agility drills are two exercises that will help you improve your footworkor what I call footspeed.  

5. Rest Periods Are Vital

One of the most overlooked aspects of speed training is the rest you need in between repetitions or exercises.

Most people finish a repetition of a drill and begin the next one far too quickly.

You have to perform all exercises at 100 percent intensity to make improvements in your footspeed.

If you are not fully recovered you will perform at increasingly less intensity as the session progresses, which will improve your endurance, not your speed.

Take at least a one-minute rest, if not more. The rest period depends on the distances involved and the type of exercise involved.

Remember not to hurry your speed training and you will win the race.

More: 3-Minute Stretch to Prevent Tennis Injuries

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About the Author

Paul Gold has been involved in enhancing the performance of tennis players of all levels from beginners to touring professionals for more than 20 years.. For Paul's free mini-course footwork video, visit footwork4tennis.com.

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