How To Build Up Your Stamina To Improve Your Tennis Game
Tennis is a grueling sport that requires a deep energy reserve, so serious players are constantly looking to improve their stamina. Here are a few quick insights into how to build up your stamina to improve your tennis game:
A staple of any fitness regimen, running is a great place to start if you are a little out of shape. (Walking is a great place to start if you are more-than-a-little out of shape.) Running builds lung capacity and muscle endurance. And it’s a gateway exercise: A consistent running schedule often leads to other healthy lifestyle decisions.
Implement Interval Training
Tennis is a sport of explosiveness. Brief periods of rapid exertion, separated by relatively long breaks in the action. Thus, interval training is perfect. Run 20 second sprints separated by 30 second jogs. Or jump rope as quickly as you can for five minutes, and then break for two. Jumping rope is a great exercise for tennis players because it works the same muscles needed for rapid movement on the court.
Tennis players often skimp on strength training, believing that endurance and technique are the more important attributes. But to really improve your game, you have to get stronger. Greater strength means faster serves and better movement. A better serve means more points easily won, more energy reserved.
Don’t have access to weightlifting equipment? Do body weight exercises to improve your stamina. If you can’t do very many pushups, the few you can do will make you much stronger. And if you can do a lot of pushups, do a lot of them and watch your muscle stamina improve dramatically. (Situps are great too, as are lunges. It is possible to design a pretty good strength routine with nothing but variations of the pushup, the situp, and the lunge.)
Have a Banana
Here’s a tip of a slightly different type: Tennis players sweat, and sweat carries electrolytes out of the body through the skin. So to keep your body working at its peak capacity, eat a banana. (Bananas are high in the electrolyte potassium.)
The other thing we lose in sweat, besides electrolytes, is water. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after play. Sports drinks are okay too, but not all the time. They are a quick way to re-hydrate (the electrolytes in sports drinks actually do allow for faster hydration), but they are often packed with sugar.
Watch Your Diet
Speaking of eating and drinking, diet is a tremendously important part of a tennis fitness regimen. But don’t worry, you don’t have to incorporate a super-strict, gluten-free diet like Novak Djokovic. For casual players, diet is a matter of common sense: Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid fatty and sugary foods. For serious players, food requirements can be intense, but they are usually just more advanced versions of the common-sense rule.
Perhaps the most obvious way to build up your stamina to improve your tennis game is to play tennis. No other game has exactly the same stop-and-go dynamics. To focus on building stamina, run sprints or do push-ups between points.