Coordination training plays an important role in tennis, which is often neglected especially in the training of young tennis players. The versatility of tennis sports requires the player to master many complex forms of movement.
Imagine the impact movement only once. The player must coordinate the ball throw, club leadership, body movement and the meeting point so that the ball lands in the opposing service area. In addition, he must partially take into account wind and weather.
In short, the training of coordinative skills is indispensable. Just like the conditional abilities, the coordinative abilities are a performance-limiting factor in tennis. It is therefore important to devote particular attention to coordinative education, especially in childhood and adolescence. The sooner a tennis player practices these skills, the easier it is for the tennis-specific forms of movement to take shape. In addition, the coordinative skills can be trained very versatile, so that the fun factor is not neglected. Starting with children with the coordinative education, it should be noted to start with a general coordinative education and then to train on a tennis-specific basis.
This article is limited to the tennis-specific coordination training. In the following, training examples on the most important coordinating skills in tennis are presented.
Coupling capability is the ability to match partial movements. As already mentioned, this is crucial, for example, when serving, but it also plays a major role in many other elements. Forehand and backhand are also composite part movements.
The player starts from the baseline center. On the left side of the baseline are two cup plates at a distance of two meters. On one of the plates is a tennis ball. The coach plays a ball on the forehand, the right side of the baseline. After the strike, the player has the task to run as fast as possible on the left side and to move the ball from one cup to the other. Then he plays a forehand again, etc. Per round six basic strokes are to be played. A series includes three to four passes. Then it is changed and played backhand.
Exercise 2: Sampras smash
This form of training is very demanding and only suitable for advanced skiers. Starting point is the baseline from which the player starts. The coach plays a high praise on the T-line. The player should now play no ordinary smash, but both legs jump off the ground, similar to a jump serve in volleyball, and the ball into the opposing field. Then the coach plays a volley and the point is played.
ability to differentiate
The ability to differentiate is the most important coordinative component in tennis. Here it is about achieving a high degree of fine tuning of individual forms of movement. A player has to accelerate at different speeds on almost every stroke, use power and take into account the opponent's pace, so that the ball lands without error in the opposing field.
There are 6 balls played by the coach. These should all have different tempo and spin, for example, with slice, with a lot of topspin, without spin, a lot of tempo, low tempo, etc. The player has the task of playing all the balls in a given target field.
This ability requires the tennis player to determine the position of his own body in the room and to change it precisely. This includes above all the observation of the ball and opponents and the resulting reaction of the player.
An excellent exercise that brings a lot of fun is the table tennis double with a racket. To make matters worse, each team has only one club, so that in addition to the opposing team even their own partner must be observed so that the bat handed over in time can be.
This is about grasping an externally given rhythm and reproducing it by motor. In tennis, this is especially important in order to be able to raise a safe and solid game from the baseline and to find a rhythm that the opponent has difficulty breaking.
This exercise is especially useful if you are going indoors or outdoors from the hall at the beginning or end of the season.
It should be played at medium speed baseline strikes. Every time the ball comes up, players should say "tip". If they beat the ball, the meeting point should say "Top". One can vary this exercise by pretending to take the ball in the highest point, in the fall or even in the climb.
Responsiveness is the ability to initiate and perform appropriate, short-term, motor actions. In tennis, it is therefore particularly important to find the appropriate solution to the variety of different punches in time and to initiate them correctly.
The best way to train responsiveness is in the net. In volley you have much less time to adjust to the opposing ball. In the following exercise, one player is on the net, all the others are positioned at the baseline with three balls in their hands. The balls should now be hit on the player so fast that not all of them can get caught. This is simply about getting as many balls as possible.
This exercise also takes place on the net. Two players face each other, about one meter behind the T-field line. Only volleys are allowed. The ball is played and then the players move up, so the distance becomes shorter and shorter. This exercise can also be practiced as a double exercise.
The training of coordinative skills is essential for training in tennis. The sooner you start with it, the faster success sets in, as automated motion sequences relieve the central nervous system. In children of 8-12 years, the fastest progress is made, and in adults, it takes significantly longer for noticeable changes to be made.
A great advantage is that the trainer has so much leeway in designing the exercises that coordination can be taught very varied and with a lot of fun. This increases the adaptability and motivation of the learners. It should be noted, however, that tennis-specific coordination training merely complements general coordination training. Especially in childhood, care should be taken to properly train the coordination.
In addition, the exercises should be designed in such a way that they always present a challenge to the practitioner. Only demanding forms of training improve the ability to coordinate. These should then be repeated frequently so that the movements are automated and retrievable at any time. Doing exercises once is unlikely to produce any noticeable effect.
1st German Tennis Association (1996). Tennis Syllabus Volume 2: Teaching and Training. Munich: BLV publishing companies.
2. Friedrich, W. (2004). Basics sports knowledge. Balingen: Spitta publishing house.
3. Schneider, Hubert (1994): Sports science and sports teaching and learning in tennis.