9 Martin Method Tennis Threads
“Building or maintaining a strong and stable body can improve your tennis and protect you from injury” Nathan & Giselle Martin
Tennis has always been part of my life. It’s because of my Dad that I started to play and continue to love both playing and watching the game. Years ago my passion for the sport led me to discover tennis fitness trainers Nathan & Giselle Martin founders of Tennis Fitness. They’ve trained many world class players including Lleyton Hewitt, Casey Dellacqua, Sam Stosur, Martina Navratilova & Monica Seles. I’ve followed them with an avid interest; I love what they do as trainers and their passion for their craft. They are industry legends and I have immense respect for them.
I was lucky enough to connect with Nathan & Giselle this year and I’m thrilled to now be working for them. The Tennis Fitness mantra is simple; helping people of all levels improve their game by remaining fit and healthy. By following a fitness plan based on a holistic methodology players will have short-term physical and health benefits, and longer term, help to protect their bodies from injury.
With their wealth of experience Nathan & Giselle developed the “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.
This is the Martin Method 9 Threads:
Bi-lateral strength: build total body strength that can be used as a base for power development, endurance and force absorption.
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.
Force absorption: 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.
Force expression: Every athlete wants more power. Tennis being a power endurance sport, the more of it the better.
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.
Repeated power: Having the ability to perform dynamic movements for hours on end is what the game is about.
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.
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.
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… have a plan!
Nathan & Giselle have trained players of all ages; from as young as 5 to 80 years of age. They’ve seen many up and coming junior players with enormous skill and a natural athleticism. “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” say Nathan & Giselle.
They’ll also be more susceptible injury as their bodies will be less conditioned, less prepared for the rigours of such a dynamic sport. 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. Establishing the right platform to build a young players career upon is key to longterm success.
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. Many of my tennis buddies fall into this category. I know many players who are playing through injuries without any strategy in place to improve their condition. Minor niggles eventually become more acute and eventually unbearable forcing them to stop playing.
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. It’s also important to factor in past injuries along with existing ailments (not matter how small) in order to be able to rectify these issues. Prehab and rehab should form part of every players program no matter what the level of play.
In order to maximise your athletic potential you need a plan… the right program for you.
Tennis fitness for older adults
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? Why do I need to do tennis specific training? 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. A personalised program will help you enjoy the sport into your later years.
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. Age doesn’t need to be a barrier. Start to see what you can still do and how much you can still physically improve. You might be surprised!