SECRETS OF SPANISH TENNIS: INJURY PREVENTION
Published in Florida Tennis Magazine
Secrets of Spanish Tennis Series:
Spain is known for its extremely high work ethic, both for the players and the coaches. Players work like beasts, suffering for hours each day performing long sets of basket drills and high intensity shorter exercises as well. But one aspect of Spanish training that is often overlooked, is injury prevention and overtraining avoidance.
The legendary Spanish coach Lluis Bruguera once said, "The worst thing is when a player is overtrained--irritability and injuries can occur--it's a disaster! We must avoid this at all costs!"
For example, at the typical Spanish academy, tennis court time is limited to only 3-3.5 hours a day, as compared to many academies and camps that advertise 5 or more hours daily for their players and campers. The logic is to allow more time for the physical preparation of the players.
Oftentimes, at Spanish programs, they will dedicate two hours or more to physical preparation, as compared to the other academies that typically spend about an hour daily on fitness. The extra hour or more off the court can be used for stretching, core work and injury prevention for the shoulder and legs, and cross-sport conditioning (often in Spain they play soccer).
So essentially in Spain, they spend an hour or more LESS tennis time on the court, and ADD an an hour or more off court physical preparation time to the daily schedule--and get excellent results. Spanish trained players are often physically stronger and healthier--and mentally hungrier players!
It is natural for parents and players to think that more court time means better results. But Spain has proven that there is a healthier way to reach greatness, one that provides better balance both for the mind and body.
--Chris Lewit is a one of the leading developmental coaches in the US and an expert on Spanish training methods. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Secrets of Spanish Tennis. For more info, please visit www. secretsofspanishtennis.