One of the great things about tennis is that you can make your own schedule that allows you to:
- Play on your favorite surface
- Play on any continent you choose
- To peak at events that are important to you
- To rest when your body and mind need to recover
With so many tournaments to choose from, many players make the mistake of entering and competing in many consecutive tournaments. Although there are some advantages to playing in many different events, the problem with playing tennis week after week is that you may risk injury, lose your motivation or feel burned-out. This usually leads to a significant downturn in your performance on the court.
HOW DO TOP ATHLETES MANAGE THESE CHALLENGES?
They follow a carefully designed periodization training program. Periodization is a long-term training plan. It is designed to control and get the maximum effects of:
- Volume of training and competition (amount of work performed)
- Intensity of training and competition (how hard you work in your training)
- Frequency of training and competition (how often you train)
To perform at the highest level, the focus of your training and planning should be on ensuring your training is efficient, focused on quality not quantity. The main aim of a periodized program is to balance intensity and volume of the training stress (load) with sufficient and proper recovery so that good training adaptations and performance improvements are maintained without risking injury, illness, overtraining, or burnout. Many Olympic and professional athletes have successfully used periodization training techniques for years.
A Periodization Training Plan allows you to:
- Attain peak performance at your most desired times throughout the year.
- Mental alertness
- Physical conditioning
- Stamina and energy
IT DECREASES THE RISK OF:
- Physical illness
Each individualized periodization training program is based on a player’s fitness level and planned tournament schedule in a year. A typical periodization program is usually broken up into four (4) training phases:
- Preparation Phase
- Pre-Competition Phase
- Competition Phase
- Active-Rest Phase
PERIODIZATION IN ACTION
It is important to develop a strong aerobic and strength base in the preparation phase. The aim is to make you stronger, increase your stamina and your mental and physical resilience (your ability to bounce back faster). Focus on high volume, low intensity work. Incorporate longer distance activities such as running, biking or swimming for at least 20 minutes. Add strength training and drills to sharpen up your on court skills. This is the time you and your coach can work on technique modifications, if needed. The length of this phase should BE A MINIMUM of four (4) weeks.
In this phase, training routines should become more tennis specific, increasing the level of intensity while reducing the volume of training. Although there will still be an aerobic component to the training program, more attention should be placed on explosive movement and strength training exercises. The length of this phase should be at least four (4) weeks.
Since a true PEAK in performance can only be maintained for approximately three (3) weeks, you should focus on maintaining strength and endurance levels during the competition. Training should be performed at high intensity, while the volume will depend on the amount of matches or tournaments in this time period.
During the early part of the Active Rest you should take some time to recover from tennis. Maintain your fitness level by participating in other sports and activities such as basketball, soccer, or running.
Depending on the time of year, the active rest phase should last anywhere from 1-4 weeks, with a minimum of two weeks complete rest from tennis at the start of the off-season when there are no tournaments scheduled.
- For more information visit ScheduleZone and read Physically Speaking topics: Prepare for Surface Changes and Recovery.
REGULAR REST AND RECOVERY
The most important (and difficult) component of a proper periodization training program is to recognize when to give your body a rest and actually resting.
Depending on how far you advance in the tournament, it is recommended that playerstake a short break after two or three tournaments.
All four stages should be worked into your schedule several times throughout the year.The following factors can have a physical, emotional, and/or mental affect on players, and should be taken into consideration when creating your tournament schedule:
- Travel - international, time zone changes, climate changes, nutrition and diet
- Competition - frequency, intensity, seeding
- Practice and Preparation - location, extended rest, taking shorter & more frequent rests
- Court surfaces - adjustment and practice
- Injuries - proper medical and physical therapy care, allowing time for rest, recovery & rehabilitation
- Exhibitions, Charites, Apparences - take time and energy and are work commitments
- Team Competition - Fed Cup, Olympic preparation and play, club matches are all part of your competition phase
A WTA Primary Health Care Provider, along with your coach, can help you by determining your baseline fitness level. It is important to sit down with your coach while planning your year and decide which tournaments are most important for your tennis career, development, health and where and how you will peak.
The information provided within this Physically Speaking topic is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. If you have any health or related questions or concerns, please consult your physician or other qualified health care professional.