TENNIS: THE ROYAL GAME OF SPEED AND AGILITY
Tennis is known to have started in France sometime in the 12th century when monks would toss a ball in the walls of their monastery using their hands. France’s Louis X became so fond of the game jeu de paume or “game of the palm” that he ordered indoor tennis courts built. Not long after, it became fashionable for royalties across Europe to have tennis courts inside their castles.
It took almost 400 years before a racquet was used in playing tennis. The name tennis was actually derived from the Old French word “tenez”, a call out made by a player which meant “take”, “receive”, or “hold”. Indoor tennis, however, lost steam sometime around the late 18th to early 19th century; but a technical innovation ushered in a new era in the sport.
Believe it or not, the invention of the lawn mower in 1830 paved the way for the development of tennis as an outdoor sport and to the establishment of the first Grand Slam event, Wimbledon, the most prestigious lawn tennis event in the world. Since then, tennis has grown by leaps and bounds and tournaments have become an annual sporting event followed by millions of people watching live or on television.
Modern Day Dilemma in Tennis
In the last two decades, tennis players have become stronger, faster, and more agile. The game itself has become a test of superiority in tennis speed and agility. A ball is often served at a speed exceeding 150 kilometers per hour (kmh) or more than 90 miles per hour. Topnotch players can even serve at more than 200 kmh.
With technological innovations on the rackets used, the game of tennis has become a game of speed. Serves became so fast that the governing bodies of international tennis had to intervene by making the tennis ball a bit larger to make it slower. Such development demanded better tennis speed and agility training to enable players to compete at a higher level.
Tennis Speed and Agility Training
With faster speed to contend with, the need to have better tennis speed and agility workouts has become even more paramount. It is no longer enough for a tennis player to move around the court and chase the ball. He must develop a quicker response time to be able to catch a ball speeding his way. This is where speed and agility training for tennis becomes essential.
The challenge of developing speed in tennis is unlike other sports where a player sprints in just one direction. A tennis player is expected to do a lot of lateral movements, quick bursts of speed, and have the sharpness of mind to determine the direction of the ball and follow it.
Speed and agility drills for tennis players must enhance their ability to move side to side and have the energy to accelerate fast in any direction. Tennis speed drills like hop scotch, in-out drill, and lateral ladder are just some agility exercises that a player can perform to raise his level of playing. The use of tennis speed and agility equipment is equally important as these tools will add more variety and challenge in the training.
The tennis players of today are a different breed of royalties. They are the kings and queens of tennis speed and agility and their performance inside the tennis court—lawn, hard surface, or clay—is always a joy to watch. Tennis competitions, whether amateur or professional, have reached a new height. With proper tennis speed and agility training, players of today and tomorrow will surely bring even more excitement and thrill to the game.