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Endurance development for 10-12 & under tennis players
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Photographer: Martin Sidorjak

INTRODUCTION

From a physiological perspective, tennis is an interval and speed explosive power oriented sport. Despite matches lasting sometimes 2-3 hours, players do not typically run more than a few kilometres in total. The energy source mostly utilised is predominantly (70%) anaerobic alactic sources of energy. The anaerobic lactic and oxygen sources are utilised approximately 30% during performance. It has been statedwithin literature that anaerobic and aerobic conditioning are necessary for enhancing tennis performance (Kovacs, Roetert, and Ellenbecker, 2016), however, the question is how much it should be developed, especially in relation with speed. In studies by (Weber 1987, Unierzyski 1995, 1993) itwas detailed that tennis players should develop “general” endurance to a sufficient level but certainly it is not a factor limiting performance such as coordination, speed and agility or tactical-technical and mental skills. Fundamentally, this means that every healthy player is able to develop and train their endurance capabilities to a desired level. Because tennis specific endurance is trainable it is not necessary to include more traditional forms of endurance training like long distance runs to talent identification testing protocols. Research has illustrated that despite comparable levels of basic endurance, individual players react physiologically completely differently to the same tennis-specific stimulus, suggesting that sport-specific endurance plays a considerable metabolic role in some individuals (Ferrauti et al., 1999; Quinn, Reid and Crespo, 2003). Of course this does not mean that coaches should not work on endurance with players. The question is how and when is best to develop it.

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