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ATP point – Part 2

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Attention – before you read this article, make sure you’ve read the first part on scoring your first ATP point here. The first part covers the more tedious, almost administrative, aspects to acquiring your first ATP point. However, getting your head around the logistics of entering tournaments and travelling within a country or around the world wont get you an ATP point unless you’re good enough to beat other players.

In part two, the information serves to have you think more
strategically about your approach to preparing yourself for the
professional arena. It covers three broad aspects to playing the game of
tennis: mind training, physical fitness and tennis specific training.
It is hoped that what is written in these sections will steer you in the
right direction so that you might address these aspects of the game. It
is not the purpose of this article to design a complete developmental
program for the player. Whilst such a document might appeal to the
lowest common denominator, it would not be tailored to the variety of
tennis players, each with their own specific strengths and weaknesses;
injuries; physiques; the list goes on.

Playing the game

Why one person is better than another at tennis is something that
will forever perplex me. Sometimes it’s obvious, John practices more
often than Paul and that’s why he wins. Jerry on the other hand, is more
talented than John, and beats him despite rarely playing. Paul however,
has beaten Jerry more times than he’s lost to him though. Familiar
story yes?

There are all sorts of reasoning for these three way battles. Hes
more talented; less injured; practices more frequently; his strengths
match up more favourably against my weaknesses; he’s more experienced,
he’s weaker mentally, he’s fitter, the weather conditions didn’t suit,
I’m better on a different surface.

It seems there are so many variables in tennis that a player needs to
control in order to stand a greater chance of winning. Now after over
25 years playing the game, it has become clear what it takes to learn to
control these variables in tennis. How many times have we said to
ourselves, “If only I knew then what I know now”?

Mind training

Without a shadow of doubt, scoring your first ATP point should start
in your head. Having set your goal, it must now become your number one
priority. Every effort you make should be directed towards achieving
this feat. Mind training is the process of convincing yourself that
scoring an ATP point is going to happen, and that it is only a question
of when that will in fact happen.

This facet to developing oneself as a tennis player, sports psychology, revolves mostly around confidence building. Rather than fantasising about being a great player, hitting amazing shots and winning matches, you will program yourself to believe wholeheartedly, that you are in fact, all of those things.

atp point

The techniques used to train your mind might include hypnosis,
visualisation and/or meditation. The aim is to positively program your
mind as regularly as you can with powerful imagery of you succeeding in
tennis. These techniques teach you how to relax and silence the constant
thoughts that pop into your head so that you can achieve complete focus
whilst playing. The ability to concentrate in pressure-filled moments
on court will greatly determine your match outcomes. Then later, after
you have spent much time training your mind, you will function
automatically in the most positive way when these difficult situations
arise on court.

Few tennis coaches, if any, spend time on sports psychology. How many tennis lessons have you had with your coach where he gets you to close your eyes and visualise points being played, perfectly executed shots, and images of you winning tournaments? At best you might be referred to a sports psychologist, but even this is unlikely.

Sports psychology is not limited to understanding what you and your
opponent might be thinking at different stages during a match. There is
much more to it. Dedicating time to learning the psychology around
sporting situations will teach you the importance of having a routine.
In the same way there is a process (or routine) for playing a forehand
or a backhand, there is a process for the way you should prepare your
mind before, during, after and between matches.

You can read more about mind training and how to get started here. If you want to be a professional player, think like a pro, and act like a pro.

Physical Fitness

The majority of aspiring tennis players neglect their bodies,
choosing to hit balls more often than fine tuning their bodies for
battle on court. Players need to view their bodies as a Formula 1 car.
If you’re not changing the oil and putting on new tyres, how can you
possibly expect to be competitive? Furthermore, physical fitness is not
just about how much you can squat or how fast you can run. Nutrition and
injury management are both commonly overlooked by athletes.

I’ve seen many tennis players abuse their youthful bodies by stuffing their faces full of junk foods, sweets and sugary drinks. Would you put E10 fuel in a Formula 1 car? Taking the time to learn about different foods and the essential nutrients they contain will teach you how to care for your body from the inside out. Healthy eating is a habit, it often means forcing yourself to eat bland and boring meals. You can allow yourself a binge day once a week though. Furthermore, given youll be active more than the average person, you may need to supplement certain nutrients so that your body can repair itself quickly in between training sessions. Here is a list of supplements most players should consider taking.

Injury management begins with the simplest of therapies – rest. Many
athletes overtrain. Some athletes become so focussed on their goal they
train to the point of exhaustion. Training to fatigue is in some cases
desirable in order to progress, but if you don’t allow yourself adequate
recovery times, you will suffer the consequences of repetitive strain
and/or a freak injury. Again, it wont be a question of whether it will
happen or not, but rather, when it will happen?

To emphasise the above point, athletes will always incur injuries. You can’t push your body to the extreme and not expect it to break down at some point. Athletes must understand that throughout their careers, they will suffer injury, and they will need treatment.

radek stepanek atp point

I remember reading an article about Novak Djokovic during the year he
recorded his 43 match winning streak. It mentioned his team consisted
of 21 staff. He had a doctor; a chiro; a physio; a dietician (who
diagnosed Novak as a coeliac);
trainers; a coach plus a host of other managers and support staff. The
development of the sport has made it necessary to surround yourself with
these professionals so you can keep your Formula 1 car at optimal
performance throughout the year.

Most players make the mistake of seeing these support professionals
only once they’ve hurt themselves or have become sick. Players should be
more proactive and make an effort to see some of these people before
they get injured. These people would benefit greatly from treatment that
can prevent future injuries and advice on how to address any underlying
weaknesses in their health and anatomy that may be indicative of a
developing injury or condition.

If you want to be a professional player, look after yourself like a pro.

Tennis Specific Training

Specially designed training is where you will work on the necessary
strength and cardiovascular fitness to best assist you with the
movements and forces encountered in the sport of tennis. In the design
of a fitness program it is important to analyse the typical movements
and forces involved in playing tennis. This will see you working on
exercises that are most relevant to how your body will perform in a

Many players hit the gym and perform random exercises with no consideration as to how it might impact their performance on court. They are often not following a program and therefore wandering aimlessly with no physical progress markers in place. The full contact nature of rugby sees staunch 100kg+ hulks bulldozing their opponents. There’s a real need to sculpt layers of muscle with strength inducing exercises like leg and bench pressing so they can withstand head on collisions or rolling mauls. In tennis however, agility and flexibility is in much higher demand. Whilst you might perform similar exercises to those a rugby player does, there will be a different emphasis. For example, squats would likely involve less weight but with higher repetitions and more explosive power.

rugby players

novak djokovic atp point

Perhaps one of the most under trained parts of the body in any sport specific training is the core musculature. In short, the core is essentially all of the muscles between your hips and your shoulders. In tennis, the core must be super strong to enable a player to extend the arm out fully whilst simultaneously doing the splits to retrieve a wide ball.

gael monfils atp point

All sports require a combination of speed, strength and flexibility.
Depending on the sport however, there will be a different ratio required
of the three that best enables the athlete in their arena. There are
expert personal trainers in tennis who have studied tennis specific
movements, played the game themselves, and even worked with high profile
players. These professionals are the people players should be
consulting to improve their physical capabilities on court.

Martin Method tennis Fitness
is a team of professionals with over ten years experience training high
performance players including having worked with five #1 ranked players
in the world. If you want to be a professional player, train like a

A final thought

There’s more to life than scoring an ATP point. The ATP ranking chart
is more so a system that facilitates the entry of certain players into
certain tournaments. Whilst it’s a fairly good indicator, it’s not the
best system to determine who the best players in the world are. Other
ranking systems used in leagues around the world take in to account
win/loss records and other smaller details. These are much more accurate
and I long for the day when the ATP converts to such a system.

Scoring an ATP point does not define you as a player, rather, your
commitment to learning all facets of the game will. Are you a hard
worker? Do you treat your body like a temple? Do you seek expert advice
and surround yourself with other professional attitudes? How do you
behave on and off the court? Is your training structured or are you just
running junk miles and pushing dead weight?

These are just some of the questions that should be asked of a young aspiring tennis player. Addressing these parts of the game will help you define what should be your real goals in tennis. Once you can answer these questions you will realise there are more important milestones in becoming a professional player and scoring your ATP point.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The
information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and
other material contained in this discussion are for informational
purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad
consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not
intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis
or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding
a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health
care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay
in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.

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