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Tennis Tips - Fitness and Mental Toughness

The Need for Speed
Watching Slams, we take the opportunity to watch not only our current and former players, but new and upcoming pros breaking through. We always use these tournaments as
barometers for our juniors who aspire to the top of tennis, and observe stroke production, general fitness, and mental toughness trends. One characteristic that stands out at
this level is the use of speed; in terms of footwork, racquet acceleration, and judgement.

A fast player can get most balls with time to make the best tactical play possible, as opposed to a slower person who barely gets there in time, and has to make a lot of emergency shots. A mentally quick player can rapidly determine what opportunities exist based on the ball coming towards them, and gets in position early, choosing the best play for the situation. With enough time, the player can generate the appropriate amount of racquet head speed to make a forceful shot, taking the ball early enough to give the opponent less time to react. Good footwork sets up more opportunities to take control of the point, cutting down emergency plays.

A strong, fit player can maintain speed throughout a 3 or 5 set match, wearing out a less-conditioned opponent both physically and mentally. Being in great condition, eating nutritional foods, and hydrating properly allows players to hang in against other well-conditioned players. Superb fitness gives them the confidence they need to have an edge against the highlyranked opponents they’ll meet deep in tournament draws.

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