Rarely in the sporting community is there an activity that an individual can play in their early youth and throughout life. Sadly many sporting activities are limited to adolescence and by the time an individual completes high-school or early adulthood, the chance to play disappears.
In some regions of the world, adult leagues for team sports such as football ("soccer") and rugby exist. But, there is not another sport with such modest entry barriers played throughout the world by a variety of age groups as tennis.
As we consider this issue and further the challenge to reduce the worldwide epidemic on weight gain, one of the key points of attack for members of the health and fitness community is to promote fun, healthy sporting activities like tennis.
Of course the vision of training for tennis is generally far off-base by most in the sporting community. The sport of tennis is a highly-explosive event whereby the athlete needs to possess tremendous work threshold and the ability to manage extraordinary technical skill in a rapidly-evolving and highly-strenuous situation. Coupled with extremely challenging demands on the body, it is one of the most interesting sports technically from the vantage of a performance coach.
Through the course of this guide, we'll examine ideas behind proper tennis training and how to excel on the court, Renegade Style.
Tennis Training Guide: Renegade Style
Theory is defined as a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles is a peculiar concept. Yet in the development of an athlete, the term "theory" raises a perplexed eyebrow between the terminology and actual action in exercise circles.
When I review the present-day sporting world, I question what the goals of training are and how does practice actually enhance performance?
Truthfully most "modern-day" training does little to actually improve actual playing abilities in sport, but is designed to make the individual "appear" more athletic. To a generation bred to believe "style over substance", the double-edge sword is that without "substance", training is a tree that bears no fruit.
The link between the practicality of training, medical science and the knowledge of the function of sport skills seem to rarely walk the same path. Akin to the world of education, where students study to take tests as opposed to improve their knowledge, athletes now "train to train" and when it comes time to step on the court, performance suffers.
Sadly, much of the present training industry is a despicable world where half-truths and clever marketing ploys are used to sell myriad notions, potions and useless training mediums.
Sports performance coaching, and I use the term loosely, sells fairy-tale dreams of grandeur to clients but rarely utters the notion of "hard work" or possesses the first-hand knowledge to refine elite athleticism. It may not be fashionable, but at the bedrock of success is a phrase that I learned early in my youth:
How and why a little old-fashioned roll-up-your-sleeves hard work became unfashionable is supposition ... I suppose if it wasn't so sad, it would be funny. Yet I suppose it's these graying temples that will tell you, that roll-up your sleeves mentality is about to hit a renaissance and in-the-end, you'll learn the best route, is the one with challenges.
As the public searches endlessly for short-cuts, it finds itself victim to endless marketing forays by the training industry as well as being subjected to extraordinary low levels of "professional" coaching.
This is sacrilegious to a profession that likes to pat itself on the back incessantly, but exercise is remarkably simple compared to sport-specific skills. Any coach, or should I say someone who thinks he or she is a coach, who considers performing a lift as technically challenging is likely an unskilled athlete who has never accepted the technical and tactical challenges of an actual sport.
If not more clear, in my approach to training you will be asked to perform at a greater intensity you have ever imagined but in the end you will have learned how to accept challenges and possibly learn one of the great messages of Renegade Training, which is:
Prior to stepping into the training arena, the goals of training need to be spelled out succinctly. Summarily, the goals of training are:
- Elevate performance on the court
- Improve the quality of the incumbent's life
- Teach a moral code of conduct
I wish to place heavy stress on the final two points in particular. At the origin of modern sport was the notion to enhance the quality of life and to be a conduit to teaching principles that will better life and elevate society. One of the most important gifts a coach can give an athlete is showing a positive direction to lead their lives with a foundation of honor, commitment and integrity.
The problems with the present training world is that is not only too generalized and lacks sufficient stimuli to develop a proper athletic foundation, but that it also relies on ridiculous gadgetry. Rarely does training recognize the organic, reactive nature of sport and the different cognitive process of right and left side of brain thought process.
Renegade TrainingTM uses an approach that develops a baseline of general athleticism that specialized sports skills can be developed upon reflective of the chaotic nature of competition.
The Renegade TrainingTM protocols are based upon the Renegade Concepts of TrainingTM which must be carefully understood. They are the cornerstone of every aspect of training. These concepts are:
- Movements trained, not musculature
- Efficiencies of movement reinforced
- Motor patterning and grafting of movement
- Postural alignment is emphasized and perfected
- Stabilization in the most destabilized training environments
- Force developed such that it can be projected, accepted and redirected at maximal levels
- Adopt chaos as your "home"
The Renegade Wheel Of Conditioning
With this in mind, athletic abilities are developed using a balanced approach such that the individual possesses power, speed, strength, grace metaphorically displayed as the "Renegade Wheel of ConditioningTM".
I wish to emphasize that each spoke must be developed of equal strength in that each "spoke" of the wheel is equal in strength. The basic fundamental structure of the "Renegade Wheel of ConditioningTM" is:
- Drive, Determination
- Sport Skill Skill
- Range of Motion, Static
- Range of Motion, Dynamic
- Linear Speed
- Work Threshold / GPP
As you review "Renegade Wheel of ConditioningTM" one very obvious omission from standard training models is "balance". "Balance" isn't necessarily an attribute but a byproduct of a properly laid out training regimen and through sound planning and appropriate mediums utilized, the development of "balance" occurs.
Returning to the "Renegade Wheel of ConditioningTM", each of the attributes can be summarized briefly:
Drive, Determination & Dedication:
At the center of the Wheel is a hub for which all else revolves around and without success will be limited.
Sport Specific Work:
First of all, it needs to be clearly understood that this is not a skill-specific book and the overwhelming amount of "sport specific" exercises I have seen on the market are counter-productive, ill-advised and motivated purely upon financial profit and premature in athletic training.
While this is a highly simplified explanation, it is critical for an athlete to develop a solid base of generalized athletic ability that specialized sporting skills rest upon, akin to a pyramid.
If we address the term "sport specific training", it must directly mimic the sports actions with precise joint angles, muscular contraction as well as the same range of motion. This naturally discredits virtually every device seen and should reinforce the notion of developing solid general athletic skills, good technical sporting skills and then further manicuring workouts to specifically meet the needs of on-court excellence.
Range of Motion:
There are two forms of range of motion work, static and dynamic flexibility. To be strong you must be soft. To be powerful you must be graceful, to be able to fold effortlessly and just as easily explode you must be supple. All work recognizes the body's three basic planes of motion:
- Coronal plane: cutting the front and back portions of the body.
- Sagittal plane: cutting the right and the left segments of the body.
- Transverse plane: dividing the top and the bottom parts of the body.
Agility & Linear Speed Development:
The skills needed to excel on the Tennis Court are highly dependent upon the incumbents agility and speed.
Related Speed Articles:
There are many forms of strength that are considered in our work to enhance playing ability.
At the core of Renegade TrainingTM lays GPP (General Physical Preparation), which will in fact serve as the foundation that all other work is built on.
All training is a product of having sufficient levels of fitness, understanding the energy demands of the sport and improved levels of overall athleticism, such that proper postural alignment is maintained and the vast specialized skills needed to excel can be built.
Coming Up Next
Part 2 will be up next and go over fuidity of motion. Check back as this guide is very extensive and detailed. The following will be covered in great detail:
- Section 2: Fluidity of Motion
- Section 3: Agility
- Section 4: Speed
- Section 5: Fitness
- Section 6: Resistance Training
- Section 7: Medicine Ball training
About the Author:
John Davies is the founder of Renegade Training International, which includes sport training clubs in Hockey, Futbol and this August, the Renegade Tennis Club. This fall will see the first stage of Renegade Sporting Club's in Montréal and London, England which are dedicated to the development of heritage sporting activities of the region with particular focus on youth sport.