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Is Nadal Sending the Wrong Message

Is Nadal Sending the Wrong Message

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Published by Goldyuk
How to change your tennis training and tennis training equipment to improve your on court results.
How to change your tennis training and tennis training equipment to improve your on court results.

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Published by: Goldyuk on Jan 12, 2008
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06/19/2009

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Is Nadal sending out the wrong message?
With the modern tennis focus on power and the physique of RafaelNadal, players are hitting the gym in the quest to become strongerand, hopefully, more powerful on court. Increasing strength canimprove the intensities at which players can perform (as well asreducing the potential for injury), but can you be too strong?For example, there have been many past players who wereacknowledged as being very fit, but I think you would agree were notvisually brimming with strength and power like Nadal. Would thoseformer stars] have been more “talented” if they had been stronger?Would they have been that much better if they had been trainingtoday?There is no question that strength without skill, or even good skilllevels with low strength, will produce less than optimum results. Butdoes it really matter if a player can squat 440+ lbs (200+ kg)? Is asquat of 220 lbs (100 kg) along with great stability, power, bodycontrol, and skill, etc. a better combination? I can hear some of yousaying, “Why not have all these and a 440+ lbs) 200+ kg squat”?The main problem I see is that many coaches and fitness trainers aregetting their players to weight train using “old” non-sports specificbodybuilding principles focusing on building size in isolated musclesusing exercises that focus primarily on one plane of motion.
Is this the fault of the players like Nadal – is Nadal sending outthe wrong message?
Let’s get back to that 440+ lbs (200+ kg) squat. To work on the squatin this way means at best that the player loads up the bar to the pointwhere they need a “spotter” for safety reasons or they use a cage thatis safer, but because the bar is fixed it does not allow them to work in
 
a multi-planer environment – which after all is how the game isplayed. The big problem with both of these scenarios is that theexcessive loading that must occur to the spine and joints on anongoing basis must impact on the risk/safety ratio over time. Thegreater the loads we use in this way surely increase the chance of injury and in my experience players often "fail" because of the physicaland mental pressure of the bar on their backs rather than because of fatigue in the legs.While I completely understand the push for greater loads to improveabsolute strength levels, I feel that there is a different way to improveperformance and reduce injuries.There is no doubt that for a player to improve strength they must trainat intensities high enough to elicit a strength response (principle of overload). Nevertheless, I feel that there is a better way to increasemuscular
and
nervous system loading, yet lessening the strain on thespine and joints.To achieve this I recommend the use of single leg exercises that notonly produce great strength gains, but also increased stability andbalance without the risk of back and joint injury.If we think about it the game is played predominantly on a single legbasis anyway. You can still do maximal lifts just as one would withdouble leg squatting, without the excessive loads on the spine and joints.You can also use this type of training on the upper body with the useof dumbbells. This again forces a greater nervous system response.I also believe that training in this way improves tennis specific strengthin a way that provides an added skill component to a players’ physicaltraining, which will reap rewards they can transfer directly to thecourt.Ultimately, it's not that Nadal is sending out the wrong message; it'sthat the message being sent is being wrongly interpreted by much of the coaching and playing community.Let's not forget that Nadal is a very talented player, who was born withinnate tennis skills that he has honed over the years. The physique hehas and the physicality of his game enhance his considerable racketskills without which he would not be the same player.
 
Don’t misunderstand me; the physical side of his game is veryimportant just as it is to many of the top tour players, but to train thenervous system (by adding balance and stabilizing challenges)alongside the muscular system is a superior form of training from botha skill enhancement and functional basis as well as being a saferenvironment for the players.After all in a multi-skilled sport like tennis the objective is to
improve
sport performance and reduce injury potential, not build entrants forbody-building competitions. So do your strength work wisely, whichmeans as a sportsperson not a bodybuilder (there is a difference),which will leave you more time to enhance your skill development.
Try these single leg squat exercises (they are ranked in order of difficulty):
Supported Single Leg Squat
- Stand on one leg while holding on to a support(i.e. net post) that allows you to maintain balance. Keep the weight on your heel;push your hips back while keeping the back neutral. Squat as low as you canwith good posture before returning to the start position.Start & Finish Midpoint
Bulgarian Split Squat
-. Place the back leg up on a bench behind the player.Keep the knee over the foot and the weight on the heel while lowering down to atleast a parallel position and then up again.Start & Finish Midpoint

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