Top players often practice 2-4 hours a day and play in matches 1-3 hours each day (or more if they play doubles) for most of the year. How do they avoid overuse injuries? Physical conditioning outside of tennis might be crucial.

In the weeks before the season starts, as well as during the season, a player must get into optimal tennis fitness and then maintain it. That process involves more than aerobic conditioning and strength training. Tennis is a sport that requires power, balance, agility, coordination, speed, core stability, flexibility, and endurance.

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Fitness trainers will usually design year-long schedules for their athletes. In the preseason, players focus on building an aerobic and strength base while also resting body parts previously injured. As the season ensues, they adjust the routines to focus more on balance and agility and decrease resistance training. As tournaments intensify, players will adjust the intensity and frequency of their fitness training as needed.

Often success on the court depends on players’ hard work off of it.

Note: This post appeared as an article I wrote for The Daily Slice during the Family Circle Cup women’s professional tennis tournament in Charleston, South Carolina.