For the last two weeks during the 2012 French Open, it is obvious how physical the sport of tennis has become and will continue to increase over the coming decade. The athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and have more tennis-specific endurance. The reasons for this are rather clear. The improved quality of training:
- from assessments,
- to training,
- to monitoring,
- to scheduling/planning
- to recovery
are why we have seen such large increases over the past decade. At the highest levels the athletes have entire teams around them including performance physiologists, physical therapists (physios), certified tennis performance specialists, athletic trainers, nutritionists, medical doctors, chiropractors and other healthcare providers to help the athletes achieve their optimum physical conditioning and prevent injuries. Although the average tennis player does not have the time or resources to work with all these experts to help them improve their on-court tennis performance and reduce injuries, there are avenues that the tennis player – at the junior, collegiate, adult league, senior or professional level – should explore to help them achieve success on court and reduce the likelihood of injuries.
The International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) was established to improve the quality and consistency of training of tennis athletes at every level. The iTPA is the leader in tennis-specific performance, education and certification and is the organization for trainers, coaches and specialists who have a passion for tennis-specific performance enhancement and injury prevention. The iTPA achieves its objectives through quality evidence-based education, and the promotion of the professionals in the field who have the education, knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively train tennis athlete and improve the health, safety and performance of tennis athletes worldwide.
It is important to work with a tennis coach that has gone the through the Tennis Performance Trainer (TPT)
certification program which ensures that they have certain knowledge, skills and abilities in the major aspects of the physical training that can be combined with their tennis teaching and coaching knowledge. A tennis coach that has earned the TPT designation is someone that understands the basics of 14 areas needed to improve the quality of training for the tennis athlete. If your tennis coach does not currently have this designation suggest to them that they look into the TPT program (http://www.itpa-tennis.org/tpt.html
If you are working with anyone off-court with respect to training, injury prevention or rehabilitation then they should go through the Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS)
certification program which is specifically designed to educate and assess the knowledge in 20 tennis-specific competencies including assessments, resistance training, tennis-specific movement, strokes and injury concerns, planning and periodization and more than a dozen other areas that are needed to effectively train the tennis athlete at any level. The CTPS program is recognized in the fitness industry by a number of organizations as an important level of education needed to successfully work with tennis athletes. If your strength and conditioning coach, personal fitness trainer, physical therapist (physio), athletic trainer or other healthcare provider does not currently have the CTPS designation you should suggest that they look into the CTPS program.
Please continue to follow the iTPA on facebook (facebook.com/itpatennis), via twitter (@itpatennis) and at the website (www.itpa-tennis.org
) for daily information about performance enhancement and injury prevention for the tennis athlete.