Yuma Daijima

Posture is very important aspect of a tennis games. Defining and maintaining stable posture should be such an important focus for every player and tennis coaches as well.

Good posture is considered when a player has shoulders back, slightly bended knees and forward head position. This can be achieved by pushing the tailbone backwards. In this way, automatically the back is straight, shoulders are facing backwards, the knees are slightly bent. This is a position from  the player can react in a much faster way as he is closer to the ground with wider base of stability and lower gravity center of body.

Having a proper tennis posture a player has always the body weight leaned forward. This makes sure that during a stroke and follow through faze the body parts (shoulders, elbows) that give control of the shots are at the proper position and that there is sufficient weight transfer through the ball to generate the power.

Tennis is a rotational sport. The players need to rotate the spine and hips to generate the power in the shot, especially the thoracic part. If the posture is bad, the upper back and shoulders are more rounded and that kind of body shape has a much limited spinal rotation and causes a bad balance position through the follow through phase (following through sideways then forward to the direction of the ball leaving the racquet).

Balance is a ability of the body to maintain the equilibrium statically or more important for tennis, dynamically. For the player to create the power and control he has to have the balance before the shot and keep the balance during and after the stroke.
For a player to do this, he needs to understand how to control the balance. It is controlled by the semi circular canals in the ear (head to stay still while hitting the ball and right after the contact), by the position of the center of the gravity (height is different for forehand and backhand) and size of the base of the support (wider leg position, lower center of gravity, with max knee bent of 90 degrees).

Balance involves the sensory motor system and the components of this system include the vestibular system, the visual system, and the sensors that are located in the joints that make tennis  player able and ready to move his body and to be aware where is he located in space.

The keys to keep the positive balance  is:

1. The ideal foot position (anchor step) as a preparation for the ideal weight distribution. The sensors for the balance are in the joints and they are sending the information to the brain if the body is stable or not before the stroke to perform.

2. Apart of the foot position, the hip and shoulder position and their angle of the rotation before the stroke, is highly important.

a) The angle of the hips (accepted angle bigger for the forehand then the backhand) and shoulders towards the incoming ball

b) The angle of the rotation of the shoulders compared to the hips.

3. Head position while hitting and follow through. Have you ever seen professional players move their head too fast after the stroke? NO! As the center of balance is in the inner ear, if the player moves the head too fast (to look at the ball leaving the racquet), the balanced follow through and the sequence of movement after the strokes are interrupted and very inefficient.

The key to keep the balance during the stroke is to keep the upper body very stable, control the head position as the center of balance is in the inner ear and while hitting and following through action have completely control of the body weight transfer.

 

 

 

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Blog posts, english version, Uncategorized