PAN AM Tennis Footwork

pan am tennis         The slow-dance choreography of a tennis warm-up is a wordless, polite exercise of ground strokes, lobs, volleys, and serves.  It gets the players’ blood flowing and they get to check out the competition. In slow motion, players purposely move their feet in familiar patterns, exaggerate their hips opening to absorb power shots, hold their balance in the follow-through a bit longer, and reduce their speed in any foot take-offs and landings.  Muscle memories are re-kindled and sparks start to fire for the explosive shots to come.  But, don’t be fooled by the pace of the warm-up. It changes on the very first point.  “Love – Love” doesn’t last long.

Game on… the tennis player’s feet are constantly in motion – before, during, and after each stroke. He sets up shots to control the game and will never be caught flatfooted. He has his footwork cut out for him; it will be 5K of chasing down balls in a match. Whether sprinting for a cross court shot, sideways galloping to recover position or hopping for an overhead, a tennis player’s moves are foundational to his strokes.

One of the most aggressive tactics in tennis has a very demure name – ‘The Approach Shot’.  It is exciting to watch and to play because it is a potential game-changer.

Footwork of the Approach Shot

The player takes a powerful step forward to get off the baseline and then small, balanced steps bring her to the service line. With shoulders and torso rotated, she is sideways or perpendicular to the net. This helps her transfer weight forward as she hits the approach shot.  She takes the short ball high on the bounce or out of the air.

  • If she hits it with top spin, she stays low in a semi-open stance and rises up into and through the ball as it slams down the line.
  • If she comes into net with a slice, a ‘Carioca Step’ – her back foot goes behind her front leg – propels her forward. As she slices the ball with a smooth cutting motion, her stance is closed with knees bent.  The ball plops over the net out of the opponent’s reach.

She split steps to center her gravity, and gets ready to explode at whatever height and direction the next ball dictates.  Will she do a put-away volley on a low ball?  Or, will she pedal backwards and hit an overhead on a mid-court high ball?  Then again, maybe she already got the point with her approach shot.

Go to – http://www.toronto2015.org/schedule

Resources: 

http://www.toronto2015.org/tennis

http://www.optimumtennis.net/tennis-footwork.htm

http://www.runnersworld.com/fun/distance-run-per-game-in-various-sports

http://www.tennisserver.com/tennis-warrior/warrior_03_11.html

http://elitetennistraining.com/free-online-tennis-lessons/the-approach-shot/

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)

TRAINING – COMPETITION – PODIUM

The Biomechanics of Your Walking Gait

Gait Stance Phase Feet on Ground

Whether you are conscious of it or not, your feet move your body forward to where you want to go at the pace you want to take. They use the least amount of energy by moving in as straight a line as possible, and adjust their movement to avoid pain if you have a painful foot condition.  They act as shock absorbers for your body. And unless you are hopping, your feet alternate on the ground as you go forward with the lower one propelling the one in mid-air forward.

The alternating of your feet as you walk happens in two phases:

  • The ‘Stance phase’ is when the foot is on the ground. It comprises about 60% of the walking cycle. For part of the stance phase both feet will be on the ground for a period of time.
  • The ‘Swing phase’ occurs when one foot is on the ground and one in the air.

Even during the ‘Stance phase’ a single foot goes through five sub-stages:

  • Heel strike
  • Early flatfoot
  • Late flatfoot
  • Heel rise
  • Toe off.

The defining difference between walking and running is that during running there is a period of time when both feet are off the ground (the ‘Float’ phase).  Also, as running is associated with greater speeds, the forces that go through the foot when it lands can be substantially greater than during walking; it is often 4-5 times body-weight during running and even up to 6-7times body-weight during sprinting.

http://www.footeducation.com/biomechanics-of-walking-gait

Kenyan Marathon Training in Kansas

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Can a marathon runner from Kansas City train like a Kenyan?

         Here are some tips for that cultural transition:

 Workout Recovery 

  • Do extra slow warm ups
  • Do extra slow cool downs
  • Do extra slow recovery runs

 Diet and Rest

  • Eat local fresh food
  • Sleep 10 hours per night
  • Nap 1-2 hours per day
  • Spend lots of time off-feet

 Live Simply with No Distraction

  • No TV, internet, cell phones or technology
  • Read or go for walks
  • De-clutter your mind

Train in Tough Conditions

  • Run on soft ground for strength, flexibility and efficiency
  • Overdress in extra layers of under clothes, also wear baggy clothes and heavier shoes

Mental Outlook

  • Believe you can win and a break world record
  • Don’t limit yourself; dream big
  • Don’t complain about life or a workout

Training

  • Listen to your body, back off if you are tired or something hurts
  • Otherwise work hard, increase intensity or duration to point of exhaustion
  • Practice block training: build up for 3-4 months, then completely rest for 2-6 weeks before starting next block
  • Train in groups – ‘iron sharpens iron’
  • Do lots of lower leg drills and stretching with little to no upper body, do some basic core work
  • Add uphill running drill with resistance band 1-2 times a week. 
  • Take Sunday off for studying the Bible, going to church and completely rest

Workouts

  • Run up hills and stride back down
  • Do tempo runs: conservative start, pick up pace to finish at fast pace
  • Do ‘Fartlek runs’ (Swedish for ‘speed play’) http://runners-resource.com/training/fartlek/
  • Do interval workouts, adding repeats
  • Do periodic long runs at a progressive marathon pace
  • Do two runs per day with a recovery run

Kenyan’s Stance on Shoes

  • They go barefoot by necessity, not by choice. 
  • Those in Kenya will wear ANY pair of shoes without complaining, preferring shoes to going barefoot.
  • Those who have run outside Kenya prefer a simple, lightweight trainer given their well-developed feet.

For more details, read:  http://www.runnersedgekc.com/pdf/how_to_train_like_the_kenyans.pdf

Photo source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/02/sports/iten-a-kenyan-town-made-for-marathoners.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0