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Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.

HUMAN KINETICS

What's your playing style?

The answer should dictate a tennis player’s specific training program

 


Most coaches categorize tennis players into four distinct playing styles, and according to Paul Roetert, the former managing director of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA’s) Player Development Program, each style should dictate a player’s individual training regimen. In his book, Tennis Anatomy (Human Kinetics, 2011), Roetert and coauthor Mark Kovacs break down the four types of players and pinpoint the areas of the body most influenced by each style.

  1. Serve and volleyer. The serve and volleyer relies on the serve to help dictate the point. After the serve, he explodes forward to the net. Good volley technique is imperative for a serve and volleyer, who requires excellent leg strength, particularly in the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and gastrocnemius. “Strong leg muscles are key, especially for hitting low volleys that require significant knee flexion,” Roetert says. “Functional flexibility is also very important to the serve and volleyer because he is required to get very low to the ground dozens of times throughout the match.”
  2. Aggressive baseliner. The aggressive baseliner is more comfortable hitting groundstrokes but is also looking to put pressure on his opponent by hitting hard, aggressive strokes. “Muscular strength and endurance are required, but overall power is the major physical component that helps the aggressive baseliner dictate points,” Roetert explains. “Having a major weapon such as a big forehand or strong two-handed backhand is very beneficial.” Exercises for the lower body and midsection are similar to those for other styles, but greater emphasis should be placed on upper-body power. “The muscles of the chest and front of the shoulder are important for producing force, but don’t neglect the muscles of the back of the shoulders and upper back,” Roetert adds.
  3. Counterpuncher. The goal of the counterpuncher is to chase down every ball and make sure the opponent has to hit multiple balls each rally to win any points. This game style is based on great side-to-side movement and stroke consistency. “The counterpuncher will often stretch out to hit open-stance forehands and backhands,” Roetert says. “Therefore, it is critical to train the abductors and adductors as well as the muscle groups mentioned for the serve and volleyer in a well-rounded training program.” Muscular endurance of the upper and lower body is critical. The obliques must also be trained to assist in the rotational movements of the groundstrokes since the counterpuncher hits so many strokes, many with an open stance. “Also when playing great defense, the counterpuncher may hit multiple strokes on one leg, out of position, or off balance,” Roetert adds. “Therefore it is imperative to train for these situations on the court by performing single-leg activities and training in unstable or irregular environments.”
  4. All-court player. The all-court player looks to be aggressive when hitting groundstrokes but is also happy to follow aggressive shots to the net to finish points. For the all-court player, all shots require equal attention in training, and significant time should be spent on the transition game, training for shots that help the all-court player get to the net. “The all-court player should regularly practice approach shots, such as a big forehand or slice backhand hit from half court, and follow the shot to the net,” says Roetert. “These shots require excellent movement and positioning, most often with a more closed stance than regular groundstrokes.” The all-court player should train all muscle groups, and exercises for both the upper and lower body are beneficial, especially those that help develop weight transfer and movement into the court.

“At the top professional level, the aggressive baseliner is the most prevalent style of play followed by the all-court player,” states Roetert. “The traditional serve and volleyer and the stereotypical counterpuncher are no longer preferred playing styles on either the men’s or women’s tours, but tennis players at other levels can be seen playing each of these different styles.”

Tennis Anatomy offers a unique, highly visual perspective on conditioning and strength training for tennis players. With over 194 full-color anatomical illustrations of the different strokes and movements, musculoskeletal strengthening exercises, and exercises to prevent common injuries, this book provides the tools for designing a complete conditioning program for tennis performance. For more information, see Tennis Anatomy.




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Interview with Paul Roetert on Tennis Anatomy
Roetert talks about the four playing styles for tennis, and more


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Tennis Anatomy
Bring your game to life with over 194 full-color anatomical illustrations depicting strokes and movements, strengthening exercises, and injury-prevention exercises. The 72 step-by-step exercises are arranged anatomically for shoulders, arms and wrists, chest, back, core, and legs, with explanations of how each affects performance
$33.95
Tennis Anatomy eBook
Bring your game to life with over 194 full-color anatomical illustrations depicting strokes and movements, strengthening exercises, and injury-prevention exercises. The 72 step-by-step exercises are arranged anatomically for shoulders, arms and wrists, chest, back, core, and legs, with explanations of how each affects performance
$31.20

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