Updated: Apr 21, 2021
I received a question:
"How Do I Train to Improve my Power in Tennis?"
I am going to approach this question as both a novice tennis player and an ever-growing "expert" in rotational sports and human movement so this should be fun.
In order to try and fully answer this question and make it easier to understand, I am going to break this up into a few parts.
The first thing you must be good at to perform a sport or particular movement with more power is:
#1: Coordination and Technique
The number one thing that is going to improve your ability to produce power is knowledge of the sport and improving your overall coordination of movement and technique in your swing mechanics.
If you want to get the most out of your physical training you have to maximize your mechanics on the court.
This is where working with a good tennis coach is going to be beneficial in order to give you feedback on your swing mechanics.
I know it seems simple to say “have good mechanics” but most people seem to pass by the most foundational movements and drills once they “learn” a skill. The basics are where you are going to improve your game – especially when it comes to power development.
The less you have to think about your mechanics while playing, the more you are going to relax and be comfortable on the court. Being comfortable and relaxed, in my opinion, is one of the most important pieces of improving output during any sport.
If you’re too tight then you’ll force things and generating maximum power requires an absence of tension. This is explained in some further detail in this article
What's the secret?
The real secret to speed and power is actually being able to relax, coordinate your body well and then “crack the whip” when needed.
Increasing muscle tension and “muscling” the ball will usually create poor mechanics and produce less speed. There should be a rhythm and coordination to your movements on the court and this is the real key to producing power when needed.
Let’s look at the grip of the racquet as an example of being relaxed
We want to be able to have a relaxed grip and create tension or an elastic effect when needed at ball contact.
As soon as there is stiffness, there’s an inability to displace the racquet as far as needed. The arms should just feel like they’re coming along for the ride and not driving the swing.
Thus, by creating a rotational effect of the body you can create racquet head speed and, in simple terms, speed is how power is generated.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we discuss the importance of Building a Solid Foundation of Strength
If you have any questions about what exercises may benefit you the most, feel free to reach out anytime at Hunter@starkperformancept.com or call 850-912-9203. If you're in Pensacola or the surrounding area then let's work together to get you a long-term plan to improve!