Tennis Corrective Strength Training Exercises: Kettle bell swings

kettlebells

The kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises to perform during the off season. It’s one of my personal favorites as it works¬†the glutes, hamstrings, and a bit of your lower back. I usually do this one about 3-4 times per week in sets of 5.

If you’re a player, who suffers from lower back¬†pain this exercise¬†can help to correct it.¬†Just be careful of¬†how much you lift.

Here’s how it works.¬†You want to start off with a kettlebell or dumbbell that fits into your ideal strength weight.¬†I¬†recommend¬†starting at about 8-10 pounds if you haven’t been doing much off-court training.

The motion:

You want your feet to be in a wide base, further than shoulder width apart. Take the weight and hold it low between your legs. You can initiate the movement by swinging the weight through your legs and squeezing your glutes. As the weight starts to drop use your hips to thrust the weight up to your chest level. Briefly hold the weight in place before allowing it to swing between your legs and repeating the process again.

You can perform as many sets as you want but I’d recommend doing at least¬†3 sets of 15 reps per training interval.

On a side note, I’m going to begin recording myself¬†performing¬†these exercises¬†along with my on-court training and practice sessions.

I’ve got a lot of content that I plan to release for 2015 and I¬†can hardly wait to get started.

Hope you guys are having a great new year. I’ll be back in a couple days with my Australian Open predictions.

Raonic on fire in Barcelona

The 11th seed Milos Raonic, has surprised everyone by knocking off the clay court specialist Nicolas Almagro and the second seed Andy Murray in back to back matches.

This would be an impressive achievement under any circumstance but Raonic is fairly inexperience on the red dirt. Winning matches like this against top level players, has elevated Milos to the the “Threat on all surfaces” category. He’s no longer just a fast court specialist.

I’ve been reading some comments on other blogs. It seems that some fans, believe Murray has lost all likelihood at another slam, because of this loss to Raonic. I urge you not to believe this. Clay is Andy’s worst surface. That’s pretty much a given. His performance on clay pales in comparison to what he can do on a hard court. If Andy is going to win a slam, it’s most likely going to be in Australia or perhaps Wimbledon. On clay he’s simply too far behind the other top four players, to really be a serious contender at the French Open.

Also Raonic, is an excellent athlete with an imposing game. I’ve been following him since last year and I think he’s got the potential to be a grand slam winner. That slam may not be far off either after what I’ve seen this past week.

Up next for Milos Raonic is David Ferrer. While I don’t expect him to win the match, I’ll still be interested to see how hard he’s able to push the veteran Spaniard. My prediction is Ferrer takes it in three sets.

Regardless of what happens. Raonic, has now proven that he’s got the game to hang with the big boys and sooner or later he’s going to be there with them.

Nadal ends losing streak to Djokovic!!!!

It’s finally happened. Novak Djokovic’s winning streak against Rafael Nadal, has been brought to an end. Not surprisingly, on the surface which suits Nadal’s game best. Clay. Monte Carlo, must be one of Nadal’s favorite tournaments. He typically, dominates the clay court season but some of his most lop-sided matches have been at this tournament. The clay there, seems to fit right to his preference.

I watched the match and it looked to me like Nadal, was able to hit more forehands than usual. I attribute this partly to Nole, being tired and maybe losing some steam off his groundies, after that first set.

I’m glad Nadal, was able to get the win. This was a much needed victory for him and leaves me wondering whether this match will be a turning point in their head to head or just a rare win for Nadal against his arch-rival.

To a degree, it’s going to reset things because Djokovic’s winning streak against him is over. But with seven straight wins. Novak, still has the clear mental edge. Should they meet in the finals of the French Open, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the match go five. Most of the slam finals between Nadal and Djokovic have been very close. I wouldn’t expect this one to be any different. Though after watching this display against Djokovic..I’m starting to think Nadal, will win more slams

Ryan Harrison, best of the up coming Americans?

The other day, I was watching a match between Ryan Harrison and Novak Djokovic. The match was from last year, in Cincinnati. And despite Nole, winning in a fairly routine straight setter, I got the feeling that I might be looking at the next great American player, in Ryan Harrison.

I believe Harrison, has the complete package in terms of athleticism, talent, and variety. While, he doesn’t hit as big of a ball as Jack Sock or Milos Raonic. His defensive movement far outweighs theirs. And in an era, where defensive abilities and physical fitness can take precedence over shot making. It will give him an advantage over the other young players.

Harrison, is also known for being a hard worker. Which you have to be, in order to succeed in this sport. Assuming that he’s able to stay healthy. I look for Ryan Harrison, to be a future top 10 player in the world and possibly even a grand slam champion.That may be jumping the gun a bit but having seen some recent footage of him, I’m willing to make that statement. I think he’s the real deal.

Top 10 players, I’d like to have a match with

Do you ever wish you could have a dream match, with your favorite tennis player? Who would it be? And why? I have a lot of them. Too many to pick from. Having seen thousands of tennis matches, I could probably name hundreds of players, who I’d love to meet on the court. So I gave myself a challenge, to sit down and figure out what my top 10 list would be. What surface the match would be held on and how I would play them.

After giving it some time, I was able to come up with a pretty diversified list. I’ll be putting this up in increments, since I’d like to make it detailed.

First, I need to tell you about my playing style. I’m an aggressive all-courter, with a heavy first serve. I like to hit with moderate topspin on my forehand and keep the backhand shots flat. I’m also right handed and prefer extended rallies, where I can gradually work my way forward.

#10

Fabrice Santoro

Aptly named the Magician. Santoro, was a master at spin, drop shots, topspin lobs, and hitting off paced balls. On top of that he was incredibly fast and could produce angles that you wouldn’t believe. For a guy, with such an unusual, yet incredible game. It would be hard not to put him on the list.

How would I play him?

Given his ability to hit winners from all over the court, going for broke against him would be suicide. I would try to play long, high percentage rallies, going deep to his backhand as often as possible and looking for the chance to come in off a short ball and rip it cross-court. Santoro, was great at coming up with winners on the run. So if I did come in, I’d look to close the court off as much as I could, yet not get too close to the net. Otherwise you run the risk of a topspin lob. Santoro’s specialty.

As you can see, from watching Federer, Djokovic, and other top pros playing him, it’s not easy to put a ball away against the guy. You have to be patient and wait for the opportunity, to try and force a winner.

What surface would I play him on?

Hard courts are my favorite surface. They’re more naturally suited to my game than grass or clay. Because I like the true bounce. Most of my choices here, will be hard courts but I do have a couple of exceptions later on. Besides, the hard courts would allow me to make better use of my serve against the speedy “Magician.”

Stay tuned for part 2.

How to become a great returner

Ever wonder how Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic are routinely able to crush those 120 mph serves? Want to be able to add that to your game? Then this is the post for you.

Now, returning is something which I think often gets overlooked. And that’s a shame because returning serves, is a lot of fun. If you’re an aggressive returner, you can position yourself to take charge of the point right away by hitting a low, fast paced shot, deep cross-court. Keeping it over the middle of the net, is always a good idea because this is where the net’s height is lowest. Thus, you will be less likely to have a return clip the top of the tape. Whenever you’re unsure about where to return the ball, always go deep, cross court. It’s simply the smartest, high percentage return you can hit and (winning) tennis is about being able to successfully hit one more shot than your opponent. It doesn’t matter whether you hit a winner or they hit an error. Every point, that you ever win, will always have been because you were able to make one more ball than your opponent.

Short balls, are another way to establish control of a rally. Most times your opponent, won’t be expecting the ball to land short. So if you find yourself in a long rally and feel like it’s time to change up the pace, then give the short ball a try. It’s effective against players, who tend to stay back too far behind the baseline. And If they’re net skills aren’t sound, that’s all the more reason to bring them in.

The most important thing to remember when returning, is to look for your opponent’s weak points. Does your opponent like fast paced rallies? Do they have a one handed backhand or two handed? How do they handle slice? What about high balls to their backhand or forehand? All players, have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Find what works for you and then incorporate that into a strategy for dealing with them.