Martin Method 9 Threads

Building or maintaining a strong and stable body can improve your tennis and protect you from injury.

Players of all levels will improve their tennis by remaining fit and healthy. Building a plan to improve your fitness based on a holistic methodology will have short-term physical and health benefits, and longer term, help to protect your body from injury.

As a trainer for Nathan & Giselle Martin founders of Tennis Fitness my methodology follows their unique “Martin Method 9 Threads”. It is built around building the perfect tennis player, based upon the ideal physical attributes would they would poses. What do they need physically (Strong, lean, resilient bodies) to perform at their best:

  1. Bi-lateral strength: build total body strength that can be used as base for power development, endurance and force absorption.

  2. Anti-Rotational & rotational control: With the amount of rotational movement that occurs in tennis, it is important to strengthen and prepare the body to be able to maintain good postural control and stability.

  3. Force absorption: Research shows us that having the ability to absorb force gives athletes the ability to have better movement preparation, prevent injuries and have the capacity to be more dynamic.

  4. Force expression: Every athlete wants more power. Tennis being a power endurance sport, the more of it the better.

  5. Uni-lateral power: Having the ability to dynamically push off on one leg or hit a wide stretched forehand with power is what you need to do as a high end athlete.

  6. Repeated power: Having the ability to perform dynamic movements for hours on end is what the game is about.

  7. Multi-directional speed: Having the ability to accelerate or take off, decelerate or brake to slow down and transition or change direction is critical for all tennis athletes.

  8. High aerobic capacity: In order to recover effectively between points, maintain good concentration and have the stamina to last a long match, you need a high aerobic capacity.

  9. Full body flexibility: The flexibility thread is aimed at mobilising joints and elongating muscles throughout the body. It is important to have healthy tennis players carry minimum tension throughout their bodies, especially certain areas that get heavily used.

Junior tennis players without a plan

Many up and coming junior players have enormous skill and a natural athleticism. For those who don’t invest in their physicality, they can rely on skill and good general fitness into their early teens.

These young players, however, will naturally be less physically prepared than those who have focused on their fitness from a young age. At some point they will physically be surpassed and their natural talent won’t be enough.

They’ll also be more susceptible injury as their bodies will be less conditioned. Getting the right training which is tailored to a player’s strengths and weaknesses is key to building a strong, enduring body which will hopefully remain injury free for years to come.

Adult players and fitness training

Many adult tennis players don’t do any form tennis specific training off-court. For many adults (even regular gym goers) the idea of following a tennis specific strength program is unfamiliar territory. But if you’re serious about your tennis, you love the game, you want to improve and avoid injury then no matter your age you should be following a tennis fitness training program. A program that is specific and tailored to your strengths and weaknesses is key to your success. Maximise your athletic potential by following the right program for you.

Tennis fitness and fun for seniors

Many tennis players over the age of 50 believe they are too old or “past it” to be training their bodies for the sport of tennis. What good will it do? But if anything, it is even more important to do so at a later age. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the gym or have never followed a strength and conditioning program before.

There are lots of misconceptions around age & athleticism. Our bodies naturally change as we age:

  • We lose strength & muscle mass

  • Our aerobic capacity drops

  • Decrease in flexibility and mobility

  • Loss of bone density

  • Hormone levels change

All of the above factors have a negative impact on our wellbeing and physicality. But they need not prevent us from enjoying the sport of tennis and maintaining a healthy body & mind. Performing a strength and conditioning program on a regular basis can help slow the ageing process and help us to feel better on the tennis court. Don’t let age be a barrier. Start to see what you can still do and how much you can still physically improve.

Mark JonesTennis training