For the week of August 18-24th, the iTPA will donate 30% of all proceeds from sales to the ALS. #icebucketchallenge
International Tennis Performance Association's Dr. Mark Kovacs completes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Nominates the Entire iTPA Membership to do the same within 24 Hours!
For the week of August 18-24th, the iTPA will donate 30% of all proceeds from sales to the ALS. #icebucketchallenge
by Jonny Fraser (iTPA Master Tennis Performance Specialist, Science in Tennis) and Mike James (GPTCA International Tennis Coach)
Over the weekend of the 19th and 20th July 2014 both myself and Mike James attended the Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) Tennis Medicine and Performance Conference at Life University, Marietta, Atlanta. With over 100 delegates attending the conference from a range of backgrounds including tennis coaching, strength and conditioning, sports medicine and other sport science disciplines the two day event provided the latest tennis research whilst delivering a host of practical sessions. With both Mike being a performance tennis coach and myself being a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS), Master Tennis Performance Specialist (MTPS) alongside coaching tennis the majority of sessions we attended focused on the physical training and preparation of players; however, with our understanding of the holistic approach to developing tennis players it was of great interest to attend psychology, nutrition and medical presentations throughout the weekend.
The first session by one of the most respected tennis sport scientists, Dr. Mark Kovacs, gave an excellent explanation of the eight stages of the serve focusing on the technical aspects, physical components and injury reduction strategies. Particular points to mention were for coaches to be aware of hyperangulation of their athletes when preparing in the serve (where the humerus in time lags behind the scapular before accelerating up to strike the serve) and that when for example a right handed player serves they lands on their left leg countless times which may lead to an imbalance. It was suggested to consider that after a group of serves that a player completes a set of single leg squats on the non landing leg. Leading on from that it was a great pleasure to hear the editor of the NSCA journal Dr. Jeff Chandler discuss myths of training professional tennis players. This was an interactive session with the floor offering plenty of discussion. Areas focused on were strength training, physical testing, periodisation and tennis specific endurance training. There was an in depth discussion of when training junior tennis players to be aware of their chronological, biological and training age and ways in which to manage this.
The presentations by Dr. Neeru Jayanthi focused on an areas of great interest to me which considered injury prevention in elite junior tennis. With my main philosophy being that tennis can help develop young people positively whilst having great interest in talent development, I was intrigued to listen to the session. Indeed one of the first points made was that coaches (45%) have the most influence on players wishing to train at a high level in comparison to the player (35%) and then the parent (15%). This straight away made me think with coaches being the most influential person determining how intensely the player considers to take the game, even with the best intentions are coaches educated to a level where they understand volume, levels of appropriate intensity and how growth effects a young person’s body? Indeed the thoughts of children not being miniature adults sprung to mind. Jayanthi went onto discuss a number of research articles he has published in recent years including considering risk factors for medical withdrawals from USTA National junior tournaments and training and sport specialisation risks in junior elite tennis players. A host of possible conclusions can be made from these two pieces of research. For example cumulative match scheduling and competition without adequate recovery and rest (approximately two hours) can be detrimental for junior tennis players. Despite this many systems across the world which rank and rate players are based on volume such as how many matches you win within a certain time period which ultimately may lead to excessive volume. Other conclusions were that players should consider delaying early specialisation until middle or late adolescence due to a potential increase risk of burnout and injury alongside playing only one or two tournaments per month, having adequate time away and recovery from the sport. Thanks must go to Jayanthi for his passion and drive to delivery outstanding research in this area of youth development.
There were a host of other fascinating presentations attended by myself and Mike James. Page Love delivered a session on nutrition focusing on recovery and reducing the potential risk of injury for tennis players. Much of the focus was on tart cherry juice and the antioxidant nature of this to reduce muscle soreness and aid recovery. Indeed this would be a very interesting research topic for anyone in tennis considering the benefits of tart cherry juice during intense match play and recovery. Ollie Stephens then considered the important factors when working as a team to develop competitive tennis players and Dr. Larry Lauer discussed bringing back players from injury. This lecture provided a great insight into the stages an athlete goes through when being injured, such as going through the grief stages and how a team can respond in a way to create a supportive, nurturing environment to help get the athlete back to full fitness. This included factors such as clear and transparent communication, education and listening to the athlete. Other excellent sessions discussed injury and illness data from the US Open for the past 15 years and the age eligibility rule and managing WTA players. Both gave a great insight to working with elite professionals.
The practical elements from USTA Head of Strength and Conditioning Satoshi Ochi, Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Georgia, Katrin Koch, and Spanish Director of Education for the iTPA Lalo Vicencio gave delegates an opportunity to actively get involved and take home tennis specific drills and exercises. Focus on these areas included the split step and the opening of the hip and initial step, footwork and agility movements and co-ordination exercises to use with both younger and older tennis athletes. It must be said that with the great range and diversity of presentations and break out groups unfortunately we couldn't make each one, but based on other delegates thoughts and reviews every researcher or practitioner must be recognised for their excellent delivery and information either on a coaching, sport science or medicine level.
Away from the presentations the forums provided delegates to ask questions related to tennis science and medicine questions with two themes. The first one focused on developing young healthy tennis athletes. Indeed the topics varied from ways in which to strength train, manage volume and nutrition such as supplementation. The second panel discussed working with elite full time tennis professionals. It was also a pleasure to hear Atlanta based ATP tennis professional Robby Ginepri give his opinions on how tennis has changed over the past decade since he began his career on the tour. There was great acknowledgement that sport science and medicine has a larger part now to play when developing players and this is due to the advancement of the game physically. Ginepri explained that within his academy sport science plays an important role with the use of physical conditioning and performance psychology and nutrition sessions. This gave me great confidence with me recently starting my own business (www.scienceintennis.com) which is a sport science business solely focusing on tennis.
Ultimately both Mike and I feel there were a number of take home messages for practitioners working in tennis to be aware off. First of all you have to know the game, be aware of the common areas of injury, the challenges both junior tennis and senior professional players face alongside understanding the uniqueness of how to train a tennis player. Secondly, every tennis player is different and knowing your athlete and allowing them to feedback to you and the team you work with is essential to develop a strong professional relationship and maximise their potential. Thirdly don't over complicate things, tennis is a difficult sport to plan and periodise for so use the most effective ways of training but keep things as simple as possible. It was clear that educating players, coaches and parents alongside communicating with and understanding the roles of practitioners who can help develop tennis players, reduce injury and enhance performance is essential, the goal of any of us working within tennis.
Over 11 Hours of Presentations from the 2014 Tennis Medicine & Performance Conference available for download at the iTPA Dartfish Channel
Injuries in Junior Competitive Tennis: Demographic Information and Injury Trends in US Competitive Junior Tennis Players
Junior tennis injuries are starting to get more media attention as youth sport injuries have increased over the past decade; it is more common to see surgeries performed on young athletes for overuse injuries. Much of this media attention stems from other sports like baseball and football, but tennis is also one sport where overuse injuries is an area that every coach, parent, tennis performance trainer (TPT) and Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS) should hold a strong education. Many of these injuries, and even surgeries, used to be only performed on college and adult athletes. Fortunately for tennis, the average young tennis player experiences relatively few severe injuries and is considerably lower than many other sports . However, overuse is a concern in competitive young tennis athletes. Although injury rates and types of injuries are not as well researched as in some other sports (i.e. baseball, soccer, etc.) some interesting data exists that can help us better understand young tennis athletes and the typical issues that they see. Over a multiyear period a major junior national tennis tournament 21% of participants sustained an injury . Over the last few decades research has been inconsistent about where the majority of tennis injuries occur. Earlier research showed that a large percentage of injuries occurred in the lower body . However, more recent research has showed that upper body and core injuries are becoming more prevalent . This is likely due to the change in technique (more open stance movements and greater reliance of upper body in stroke production, the slower surfaces and new technologies in the racket and strings.)
One unique study involved a series of questions on training, technique, competition and other factors that was provided to all participants at the largest junior team tennis event in the US . It was collected at 12 different locations and 861 junior tennis players completed the survey:
- 97% of individuals who completed the study
As the goal of the study was to evaluate injury patterns and trends a clear definition of injury was important. “An event that forces a player to miss 3 or more consecutive days of tennis play, either practice or competition, or that requires medical attention from a trainer, therapist, or doctor.”
Major Findings From This Study
Below are three charts that provide the breakdown of the location of injuries based on the three different age groups (12 and under; 14 and under; 16 and under).
When all the data was pooled together the following showcases the most common injury areas in the junior players who participated in this study (male and female combined ages 10-17)
The shoulder and back are two major areas that need a greater focus in training and injury prevention programs. The high prevalence of hardcourt tennis play is something that needs to be taken into account when devising on and off-court training programs. The increase in injuries as athletes’ age through their junior career is also something that should be of major interest to coaches, trainers and administrators. More education is needed to ensure that appropriate understanding of volume and injury prevention programs are implemented to help reduce the likelihood of injuries in junior tennis players. This is something that requires good communication between tennis coaches, certified tennis performance specialists and parents to ensure that the young tennis players develop and optimize performance while limiting the occurrence of injury.
1. Kibler, W.B. and M. Safran, Tennis Injuries, in Epidemiology of Pediatric Sports Injuries, D. Caine and N. Maffuli, Editors. 2005, Base, Karger. p. 120-137.
2. Hutchinson, M.R., et al., Injury surveillance at the USTA boys' tennis championships: A 6-yr study. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1995. 27(6): p. 826-30.
3. Reece, L.A., P.A. Fricker, and K.F. Maguire, Injuries to elite young tennis players at the Australian Institute of Sport. Aust J Sci Med Sports, 1986. 18: p. 11-15.
4. Winge, S., U. Jorgenson, and L. Nielson, Epidemiology of injuries in Danish championship tennis. Int J Sports Med, 1989. 10: p. 368-371.
5. Kovacs, M.S., et al., Demogrpahic data and injury trends in American national junior tennis players. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 2012. 26(1): p. S62.
For Media Inquiries: Mary Jo Kovacs
International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA)
July 9th, 2014
International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) becomes the sport science and physical conditioning education advisor for the Research and Coaches Education Department of Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET).
Atlanta, Ga (USA)--The International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) today announced a new agreement with the Spanish Tennis Federation (Real Federación Española de Tenis), namely with its Research and Coaches Education Department to become the sport science and physical conditioning education advisor for tennis coaches, physical trainers, strength and conditioning professionals and physical therapists who work with tennis athletes throughout Spain. The iTPA is the worldwide education and certification organization for trainers, coaches and specialists who are passionate about tennis-specific performance enhancement and injury prevention. The iTPA is the first of its kind in the tennis industry.
Through quality, evidence-based education combined with accurate, professional credentialing overseen by a Certification Commission comprised of world leading experts, the iTPA offers three levels of tennis-specific certification: Tennis Performance Trainer (TPT), Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS) and Master Tennis Performance Specialist (MTPS). “The iTPA was established to ensure that tennis players are provided with the best training from iTPA certified individuals using the latest evidence-based practical information to improve on-court tennis performance while limiting the likelihood of injuries,” said Dr. Mark Kovacs, Ph.D., FACSM, CTPS, MTPS, CSCS*D. “The iTPA is excited to become the official physical conditioning education partner for the RFET. As part of this great partnership over 350 Spanish tennis coaches, who are members of the RFET through the Professional Coaching License, are now members of the iTPA and gain access to the unique educational offerings focused on improving on-court tennis-specific performance and the reduction in injuries. Over the coming year the iTPA and RFET will work closely together to develop combined educational offerings to help increase the opportunities for high quality evidence-based education for Spanish tennis coaches, physical trainers, physical therapists and healthcare providers who train and treat tennis athletes.”
“For the RFET, this agreement will be a valuable support for the development and training tennis players in Spain and from the Department of Research and Coaches Education we may increase the services and the resources available for our Spanish tennis coaches, physical trainers, physical therapists and healthcare providers in order to update knowledge and support them in their daily work with tennis players,” commented Dr. David Sanz (PhD., High Performance Masters Degree, Director of Research and Coaches Education RFET). “The iTPA platform provides a high quality resource, with the thoroughness of information that not only comes from experience, but of evidence applied to tennis players in recent years. This partnership starts today with this first initiative and we will increase our relationship with new activities in the future.”
About International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA):
The iTPA is the worldwide education and certification organization for trainers, coaches and specialists who are passionate about tennis-specific performance enhancement and injury prevention. The education company offers a professional training and education process that establishes recognition through 3 certifications: Tennis Performance Trainer (TPT), Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS) and Master Tennis Performance Specialist (MTPS). The certification materials are overseen by the iTPA Certification Commission consisting of world experts in improving tennis performance and reducing injuries; visit the iTPA website at www.itpa-tennis.org.
About Real Federación Española de Tenis (RFET):
The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) is the governing body of tennis in Spain.
The RFET has a Coaches Education and Research Department which deals with the coaches education program for tennis coaches as well as with the research projects funded by the RFET in cooperation with other institutions.
The tennis coaches education in Spain has two main streams: the initial education and the continuous education. The initial education is recognized from 1997 by the Spanish National Sports Governing Body (CSD) and the Ministry of Education. There are more than 10.000 tennis coaches certified in Spain by the RFET. The continuous education combines both traditional approaches such as refresher courses, conferences and workshops with distance learning courses organized in conjunction with Universities and other academic institutions. Visit the RFET website at www.rfet.es.
Download the press release PDF HERE. Also available in Spanish on our media page.
For the last few decades, the discussion around whether young kids should lift weights or perform resistance training has progressed substantially. It is important to review the science around resistance training in young individuals and make decisions about training based on the best available science. Basing decisions on how to train young athletes without understanding the underlying science is not recommended and something that can put young athletes at greater risk of injury and/or slow the development and progress. Recently an international group of experts in youth resistance training were asked to review the large body of scientific literature and develop an International Consensus on “Youth Resistance Training.” Three individuals on the iTPA Certification Commission were heavily involved in the consensus document, and is something that should be read by all coaches, trainers, performance specialists, physical therapists, medical doctors, chiropractors, parents and sports administrators.
The summary of the document concludes with this statement: “A compelling body of scientific evidence supports participation in appropriately designed youth resistance training programmes that are supervised and instructed by qualified professionals.”
Here are a few take-home messages from the “Position statement on youth resistance training: the 2014 International Consensus” which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this year.
1. “The use of resistance training by children and adolescents is supported on the proviso that qualified professionals design and supervise training programmes that are consistent with the needs, goals and abilities of younger populations.”
2. “Parents, teachers, coaches and healthcare providers should recognize the potential health and fitness-related benefits of resistance exercise for all children and adolescents. Youth who do not participate in activities that enhance muscle strength and motor skills early in life may be at increased risk for negative health outcomes later in life.”
3. “Appropriately designed resistance training programmes may reduce sports-related injuries, and should be viewed as an essential component of preparatory training programmes for aspiring young athletes.”
4. “Regular participation in a variety of physical activities that include resistance training during childhood and adolescence can support and encourage participation in physical activity as an ongoing lifestyle choice later in life.”
5. “Resistance training prescription should be based according to training age, motor skill competency, technical proficiency and existing strength levels. Qualified professionals should also consider the biological age and psychosocial maturity level of the child or adolescent.
6. The focus of youth resistance training should be on developing the technical skill and competency to perform a variety of resistance training exercises at the appropriate intensity and volume, while providing youth with an opportunity to participate in programmes that are safe, effective and enjoyable.”
Read the position stand for more detail:
Read the full International Consensus below:
Position statement on youth Resistance Training the 2014 International Consensus
Please follow the iTPA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/itpatennis), the twitter feed (@itpatennis) and the iTPA website for more information on this topic and other updates related to tennis-specific performance enhancement and injury prevention www.itpa-tennis.org
by Josh Bramblett, iTPA Staff
Athletes and coaches must understand that tennis requires quick reactive responses in order to improve movement on the court. Tennis specific movement training must take into account the athlete’s strengths, weaknesses, and style of play. The movements of tennis players are different from many other sports. For example, the movement of a tennis player reacting to his opponent’s next shot is different from a wide receiver breaking from the line of scrimmage.
So what makes movement in tennis different from other sports?
In tennis the average point last less than 10 seconds. Recovery in between points lasts around 20-25 seconds and 90-second rest periods every two games. Knowing the style of movement in which tennis is played is critical to developing conditioning programs for high-level players. “Tennis players make an average of 4 directional changes per point but can range from a single movement to more than 15 directional changes on a very long point.”(Kovacs) It is normal for players to make up to 1,000 or more directional changes in a match.
The majority of tennis movements are side to side, which is important for trainers to focus on a player’s lateral acceleration and deceleration for developing ample movement ability on court. “In a study of professional players’ movement, it was found that more than 70% of movements in lateral direction less than 8% of movements in a backward direction.”(Kovacs) It is recommended that training time focuses 60-80% on lateral movements, 10-30% on forward movement, and only around 10% backward movement.
The game of tennis is evolving as the speed and power involved are constantly improving. Due to increased speeds players have adapted their split step movement. The split step was originally describes as both feet landing at the same time, however resent studies have shown that athletes actually land first with the opposite leg to the direction that they will move toward. For example, a right-handed player hitting a forehand would land first with their left foot as the support stance and then the right leg lands with the right hip turned to the direction of the next step.
How can this information be used to train athletes?
Trainers and coaches must understand the movement patterns of tennis. The movements of tennis players are different from other sports. Strengthening and training lateral movement patterns is critical in developing tennis players at every level of the game – junior, collegiate, professional, adult recreational, adult competitive and senior players.
Here are some exercises to help with lateral training:
Example of a lateral tennis-specific training session:
Please check out the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) for education courses, tennis-specific fitness certification and hundreds of exercises and drills to help improve tennis-specific training www.itpa-tennis.org
Please share some other exercises that you have found to be beneficial in developing lateral movement!
Kovacs, M., (2009). Movement for Tennis: The Importance of Lateral Training. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 31 (4), 77-85.
Premier and upscale Athletic Club in Sudbury, MA has an opening for a full-time High Performance Coach and Assistant Director of our Tournament Training Program position.
We are looking for someone with junior development experience that has created players on their own and has worked with Sectional and Nationally ranked players. This person preferably went through the early stages of the High Performance program and uses a sound fundamental philosophy of coaching along with being able to work well with others and part of a team. This person will work closely with the Director of Tournament Training Program and Tennis Director in taking a good existing program to a well respected program both regionally and nationally. Our Tennis Professionals are courteous individuals interested in promoting the game of tennis and ensuring the satisfaction of our members and their guests.
We are looking for the right person, are you out there? If this sounds like you, we would love to hear from you!
Compensation and Benefits:
Full-time associates are eligible to receive a competitive compensation package and benefits
Email the iTPA and we will put you in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
LOCATION: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) has a unique internship opportunity available in the area of tennis-specific applied research. The iTPA is looking for an applied coach/scientist to assist in multiple applied tennis-specific research projects. Additional responsibilities will be to assist in the training of junior and professional tennis athletes as well as working on multiple iTPA projects including contributing educational content, data entry, video analysis work, writing articles and analyzing research. Interns are expected to represent iTPA with high standards and in accordance with ethical guidelines for human research and conduct.
BS in Exercise Science/Kinesiology with 2 or more years of lab/research experience
Previous experience working with tennis athletes
MS in Exercise Science/Kinesiology/ Biomechanics/ Athletic Training
Certified Tennis Performance Specialist (CTPS)
Current CPR/AED certification
Field testing experience
Experience playing competitive tennis (high school and/or college)
Option 1: July thru December 2014
Option 2: September thru December 2014
Option 3: January thru April 2015
Option 1: May 12th – June 12th, 2014
Option 2: May 12th – July 30th, 2014
Option 3: May 12th – September 30th, 2014
Email a letter of interest and resume here and please put “Internship Application” in the subject line
Download PDF HERE
Heat-related illness and death are on the rise. Each year about 200 people in the US die from heat stroke, making it one of the top three causes of death in athletes - and the leading cause of death among athletes in July and August. Yet heat illnesses and dehydration are largely preventable...
Click on the below link to download the PDF with much more information on this topic. Produced in conjunction with our partner, STOP Sports Injuries.
Hydration Issues in Sports PDF
Click below to listen to the iTPA's Executive Director Dr. Mark Kovacs being interviewed on blogradio by Alex Ramirez 4/23/2014.