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Steph St. Laurent: Time for Tennis Players to Get Down to Business

03/15/2017, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin

 

“It’s the offseason, so for me there’s a lot of planning that happens now as we move on from playoffs.”

That’s my buddy Steph gearing up for a busy season of transition. We were robbed of an entire hour of  our lives this weekend, so that can only mean one thing.

Spring training. 

For Steph and his crew, tennis players represent a particular set of challenges. 

Kelvin: Why do tennis players represent a particular set of challenges for spring training, Steph?

Steph: Well tennis certainly does have specific needs, but the first thing to understand is that whether it’s tennis or swimming or that other sport, there are specific things that we need to see in terms of fitness. So we’re working on breaking that down and sharing  the plans for each sport it with the membership. 

Ok, let’s take a more broad approach. What should young athletes be focusing on in the gym spring? 

The most important thing is that younger athletes twelve and under still need to have fun. That’s first. A competitive nature running shotgun with that is also important, but it’s key to make sure everyone is enjoying the work. If there’s a lack of fun, then that young athlete won’t be able to perform to the best of his or her abilities. Young athletes are lacklustre if the training isn’t enjoyable and challenging, so it’s about cultivating an athletic mindset in the offseason so you can achieve what you’re really capable of. 

That’s the case for tennis specifically, but it does come back to other individual sports as well because it depends on what they were doing if they were playing or training in the winter. Are they mobile? Do they have full range of motion as required by their sport? Core also plays a significant part in the process regardless of sport. It’s the foundation - correct movement patterns all originate from the core.

Aside from those, if there are injuries or limitations we want to get those right as well. 

What’s the mood like in the fitness centre this time of year?

Besides the energy created by moving into a new season, the biggest thing is the sense of community in here. Everyone is training for their individual sport and they all have their own plans, but in that aspect, everyone is on the same team. We’re all trying to make gains at this point in the year. 

There’s also a certain amount of healthy inspiration too. If your friend is working hard and going the extra mile, well it’s pretty hard not to push yourself as well. 

Back to tennis. Everyone is excited to get outside. What are some things you work on specifically with tennis clients as they prepare for their busy outdoor season? 

The tennis agenda, they’re busy all year round. Talk about a sport where they spend many hours on their game - it’s twelve months per year and the volume is high. And it’s a single sport format, one athlete vs another and it’s so repetitive. They’re hitting thousands of balls over and over and over again. There’s a lot that needs to go on behind the scenes to keep athletes injury free and feeling mobile and good. Mentally and physically. 

So at this point their volume starts to go up. They’re in tournaments all around the world so it’s a lot more focused on agility and hand eye coordination at this time of the year. And let’s not forget about conditioning. 

Yes, they’re working hard already, but we have to push them so they can reach the next level when it counts the most. 

 

Next week Steph and I are going to dig into another summer sport that requires it’s own set of training techniques ad rituals. Bring your trunks!

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