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Power development for a tennis player – Benefits of plyometric training (Part 1)

Professional athletes are always continuously looking at enhancing their performance. From the latest technology on equipment to the most up-to-date research by sports scientists, athletes are becoming increasingly dynamic. The modern game of tennis is of no exception. With the increase of demand from the game – speed, agility, explosive power, and aerobic conditioning along with the ability to react and anticipate quickly (Barber, Sue, Alex & Frank , 2010), it is the reason that many top flight tennis players are pulling out of tournaments and grand slams owing to injuries. Therefore, it is essential that plyometric training is incorporated into the athlete’s daily routine to increase their body strength so as to prevent injury (Erik & Jason, 2005). Both Erik and Jason (2005) also said that a plyometric training program will be able to benefit those athletes who are at risk for a serious knee injury as plyometric exercises can help to strength the lower body such as the hamstrings, quadriceps etc. Not only so, plyometric exercises can improve the athlete’s overall core strength and power of the upper body.

Plyometric training is the development of power using the stretch-shorten cycle. Its objective is to increase the work and power during concentric phrase and to generate the highest possible force in the shortest possible time. Plyometric training is performed with swift eccentric contraction followed by an immediate concentric contraction. Therefore, the 2 main characteristics of a plyometric training is that large forces are required to stretch the tendons and there must be a rapid change over between eccentric and concentric motion.

As discussed earlier, tennis players require speed, agility, explosive power, and aerobic conditioning. Thus plyometric training has been thought to be the most beneficial form of training to achieve the maximum output comparing with other forms of training such as weight training. This is due to the reason that plyometric training not only develops one’s strength but also one’s power, which weight training does not. Another advantage of such method is that it develops the elastic property so that more elastic energy can be stored in the muscles and tendons.

In the next guide of Power development for a tennis player – Benefits of plyometric training (2), we will give more details and examples of a plyometric program.

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