There are a number of considerations to be taken when looking at periodisation.
Keep in mind that tennis has changed considerably – whereas the sport only used to be played in a 4 - 6 month summer season, it is now
played all year round. Thus, the differing weather conditions also have to be built into your programme, especially if your training is always done
outside. The period of pre-training warm-up could differ depending on how cold it is.
Some points to be taken into account:
School or work pressure
Important and secondary matches or tournaments
Your current standard of strength and fitness
What alternative work do you want to do in your rest period.
Peak performance, at the correct time, will occur, providing you plan for it.
Tennis is an explosive sport, therefore you require to train:
For strength to be able to perform satisfactorily, but not muscle bound.
For endurance to be able to play in long matches.
For speed to be able to move about the court as quickly as is possible.
Strength, speed and endurance are the important abilities for successful performance.There is however, a dominant ability for each particular sport
and this requires a higher contribution and in tennis this is explosive speed. Most sports require peak performance in at least two abilities.
So that you better understand what we are looking at::
Combining strength and endurance creates muscular endurance, i.e. the ability to perform many repetitions against a given resistance for a
Power, is the ability to perform an explosive movement in the shortest time, and this results from the integration of maximum strength and speed.
The combination of endurance and speed is called speed -endurance.
Agility is the product of a combination of speed, co-ordination, flexibility and power as used in Tennis.
When agility and flexibility combine, the result is mobility, the ability to cover the tennis court area quickly with good timing and co-ordination.
The sport –specific phase is built during specialised training during the initial years of training.
It is also, very important to appreciate, that training must take into account, that whatever is done, is balanced, and this is where good cross
training has an imput. As an example, in tennis, it is predominantely a one sided sport where the upper body is concerned, i.e. with right handed
players – the right arm and shoulder are used predominantely in the groundstrokes and serve. This must be balanced with suitable training to
ensure the body does not become lop-sided.
This sis appreciated more now-adays by coaches, but it was overlooked very much in the past with situation occurring that could not easily be
As regards fitness and exercises, these will be addressed separately. In this section we are only really looking at the planning of the programme,
suitable for your tennis career. Please keep in mind that you will have to tailor any programme to your own specific needs.
When should you start looking at periodisation?
Personally, I believe that, as sson as a player can take in and understand what is involved, they should be taught the principals behind the various
aspects of what they will need to do in tennis.
As an example, with my players, I start them looking at goal setting and training planning (plus other factors) as soon as I think they can
comprehend them. I have 10 year olds who do goal setting for instance. We do not take it too seriously at that stage but we use the forms I have
produced and set possibly imaginary goals for their tennis and also goals that they want to achieve in their life. We difine and analyse them and do
the medium and short term goals. This at least sets them on the right path and they see the benefits of doing this as they progress.
Then, when it is necessary to look seriously at the training etc., it does not come as a surprise and it is far easier to work on the various aspects.
There are basically two types of people as far as sport is concerned, there are the sporty athletic types and the couch potatoes. The latter may
decide that they want to become fitter and to take up a sport, but the former, at a young age, often have different abilities and fitness levels.
From a young age, most youngsters will naturally do a lot of running, jumping, skipping etc., and this will, together with their participation in
various sports, give them a basic fitness. I believe that it is essential that all those participating in a sport, do a warm-up before commencing their
playing- this should be at all levels, although I do know of lots of members in clubs who do not do this. But, bearing in mind that many of them
go onto the court and do an easy hitting to one another to start with, this serves them as a warm up. However, I do not believe this is sufficient
if you are going to follow up with a really hard training session or a long tough league match.
Further more, it should also be drilled into players that they must also do a warm down at the end of lessons and play, and this should incorporate
It should be remembered that different sports require different types of training and it is important that you ascertain what your particular sport
requires. As an example, as a tennis player, whilst you need strength and endurance, it would be incorrect to do training over a cross country
course for 14 miles on a regular basis, equally, whilst a tennis player will do work in the gym, they would not do body building such as would be
undertaken by a weight lifter. It is therefore essential to understand the type of training required for tennis and we will look at specific exercise
routines and styles under fitness.
When you are ready to start your periodisation, we will assume you have achieved a sound base level of general fitness prior to starting and that
you will have completed a 2 week period of ACTIVE rest. I have put this in capitals because it is necessary to have active rest periods during
your training cycle, and by active we mean that you are resting from your tennis training but still maintaining fitness by another method, perhaps
playing or practicing basketball etc.,
You can utilise the half yearly form I have introduced, you can photocopy this and use it for a full year. We need to look at the programme for a
complete year. Bearing in mind that you can only, generally peak 4 or 5 times in a year, you will need to fill in on the form, the tournaments that
are important to you, i.e. the ones you want to succeed in.
You must also look at the period of training as a 12 week cycle, leading up to a major event. This will be broken down basically as follows:
Weeks 1 – 5 or 6 improving the efficiency of the aerobic energy system training during this period should consist of 3 or 4 runs of about
3 – 4 miles performed at a ¾ intensity of maximum heart rate. Any improvement should be based on a better time and not to make the run
Weeks 6 - 8 During this period we are transiting from endurance to speed. Each week, one of the distance runs is substituted by an
interval training session. During the first week the 3 – 4 miles is broken into sprints of 30 – 60 seconds alternated with slower running of a
During the next two weeks the interval training will be done on court.
These sessions will be tennis specific patterns performed at high intensity for 15 – 45 seconds with a 1:3 work/rest ratio, see specific on court
drills under ‘High Intensity Training’ A session will involve 2 –3 sets of 5 repetitions – variations will appear under the same heading.
Weeks 9 - 12 We are now in the preparation stage for our competition and the emphasis should be on specific on court agility, speed
and power based activities. These should be specific movement patterns utilising racket and stroke production. Training periods should
consist of tennis specific patterns performed at maximum intensity for 5 – 10 seconds and a 1 : 4 – 6 work/rest ratio, allowing complete
recovery. A session may involve 2 – 3 sets of 5 – 6 repetitions and times should be recorded and these should be improved upon.
It should be appreciated that working with advanced and professional players, the [eriodisatyion programme would have to vary, and this would
depend on the tournament circuit in which they are involved, this may mean shorter periods of 6 – 7 weeks. However, the coach will know the
physical conditioning programme of their player and this would have been constant throughout the season or year, but they would still need to peak
at the right times. Sometimes this is difficult as will be seen with some of the top players peaking too soon or after that important tournament.
It will be appreciated that the physical conditioning training will need to be different for the player who is eliminated from the tournament on the
first day and the player who has rounds of hard matches for a two week period up to the final.
One very important point to remember : The fitter and more athletic the player, the better will be their performance.