Wimbledon 2017: Can Martial Arts Training make you a better tennis player?6th July 2017
It's been an entertaining tournament already with many of the big hitters from both the Men's and Women's competition successfully through to the second round.
In recent years, the level of performance and athleticism has significantly increased. This is in large part due to a shift in training methods with players being fitter than ever before.
Many stars are turning to alternative forms of training to stay competitive. Some are using Pilates, others are doing Yoga, but a number are using Martial Arts. Andy Murray, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka are just a few of the people who have incorporated some form of martial arts into their training.
Can Martial Arts improve your Tennis?
Tennis and Martial Arts are not two sports that you immediately think of as being complimentary to one another. However when you think about the qualities needed to be successful at either, there are a number of similarities.
Tennis is a high-speed sport. It's frantic, requires high energy, but in particular players need incredible agility and this is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. With shots being played at up to 150mph and a tennis court only 23 metres long, it requires quick reactions to be able to return the ball. Tennis players need to stop, change direction and shift their balance at high speed and this needs agility. Martial Arts training improves agility by training you to avoid oncoming kicks and strikes. This requires shifting your balance and moving your body quickly, something that is beneficial in tennis to get across the court.
It can also help in terms of hand speed. If you are involved in close net play, then there is very little time to adjust. You need to know where your hands are and need impressive timing and hand-eye co-ordination. By training a martial art such as boxing, your hand speed will increase significantly as you work the punch-bag.
Anticipation and Awareness
In competitive Martial Arts, whether it be Judo, Boxing, Muay Thai or any other style, the objective is to not get struck by your opponent. To do that you need to be able to be aware of your position and read your opponents body language to try and gage what they're going to do next. This is pivotal in Tennis. The best players don't just hit the ball back and go from there, they play two or three shots ahead. As soon as you strike the ball, you need to be re-positioning yourself for the next shot. By reading your opponents body position you can see what type of shot they are going to play, whether they're going to hit straight or across the court.
This is pretty obvious, but Martial Artists need to be incredibly fit. A competitive fight requires high energy and is a full body workout. Tennis is no different, getting around the court at high speed means endurance is a must. Most tennis players run anywhere between three and five miles in a five set match, all the while using up more energy by actually playing shots. This means cardiovascular endurance AND muscular endurance are both important.
Discipline and Mentality
Sports like boxing and tennis are all about “moments”. They're about knowing when and how to exploit a weakness and take your shot. Some tennis players will just hit the ball as hard as they can to win a point and they don't get very far. It requires discipline and patience to strike at the right time. In a boxing match, if you just start throwing punches and let your guard down, you will get hit. The same can be said in Tennis, if you just start hitting the ball without thought, you will lose. Tennis matches are also high pressure and stressful for players. There is very little, if any margin for error and that means the price of every shot and every decision is high.
How to find a Martial Arts Class Near You
Whether it's for tennis, for another sport, or just because you want to learn a Martial Art, it's really easy to find yourself the right class. There are qualified Martial Arts instructors all across the UK offering a range of classes.
You can find and book martial arts classes quickly on your iPhone or iPad by downloading the 'NearYou' App. This shows you what is available locally and helps you find exclusive special offers on classes. Alternatively, head to the homepage of this website and enter your postcode to see what teachers are in your area.
Source: Martial Arts Near You