Workshop: Intro to Sport Science


Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training

A) Tennis is Anaerobic 

1) Why you shouldn’t train aerobically for tennis (e.g., long runs, cardio machines)
2) Proper work/rest ratios for tennis training
3) How to train recovery (for between points and games).
Training without rest tires the central nervous system which is what we use to “groove” proper stroke mechanics.Practicing while too fatigued leads to sloppy strokes – not so-caled “Mental Toughness.”

Theory of Specificity

A) As we get closer to our tournaments, our workouts should more closely resemble a tennis match.
B) Periodization – – planning a tennis season

1) Pre-Season (Preparation Phase)

a) Aerobic workouts to develop aerobic base
b) Weight training and conditioning = strength, power and endurance
c) Stroke work can include mechanical changes and new skills

2) Pre-Competitive Season

a) Sprint training
b) Weight training and conditioning = speed, flexibility, agility
c) Stroke work should emphasize shot-making capabilities

3) Competitive Season

a) Sprint Training
b) Weight training and conditioning = speed, flexibility, agility
c) Drills should emphasize match play
d) Rest periods before matches

4) Off-season (Transition Phase or Active Rest)

a) No tennis, rest, then cross-train moderate, non-impact exercise (e.g. basketball, soccer, volleyball)


I) Tennis players rely on complex carbohydrates.

A) Pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables, breads, cereal
B) Tennis players need a balanced diet, with emphasis on complex carbohydrates for training sessions and match play.

II) Hydration

A) Players need to drink for three reasons:

1) Keep hydrated (prevent muscle cramps).
2) Keep cool (prevent heat stroke).
3) Keep nourished (replace lost nutrients).

B) Drink before your match (enough so that your urine is clear).
C) Drink during a match, before you get thirsty and keep drinking.
D) Chilled (not iced) water is best during a match. A sports drink will help after you have begun to deplete carbs, electrolytes, potassium, etc. The timing of this will depend on how well the player has eaten before the match, how hot it is and how intense the match is (how much the player sweats) and how big the player is.
E) Do not give players salt tablets before a match.

III) Eating during a match

A) Sports drinks and some food (banana, energy bar) can be helpful after the first hour, depending on the player, match and conditions.

IV) Eating after a match

A) Eat complex carbohydrates and drink sports drinks full strength within two hours of completing a match. Eat more lean protein after matches than before.
B) Eat between matches.

Motor Learning

I) The process by which we learn a sport skill and remember it is called motor learning.

A) Brain/Central Nervous System/Muscles
B) People learn by doing.
C) There can be no learning without knowledge of results.
D) People should learn skills in an environment similar to the one in which they will eventually use them.
E) Feedback

1) Results
2) Coach’s Positive comments (specific and non-specific)
3) Coach’s Negative comments (specific and non-specific)
4) 50% results; 40% positive; 10% negative

II) Different Types of Feeds

A) Block – – same feeds to same place/stroke

1) Quickest for learning

B) Variable – – different feeds to same stroke

1) Helps learning and promotes retention

C) Random – – different feeds to different places

1) Best for retention

III) Physiology must be respected

A) Mental Toughness or Conditioning drills which tire the student, depress the central nervous system and build up lactic acid in muscles actually “groove” poor strokes.

IV) Psychology must be respected

A) People are nervous in a match because they have to hit to a target area and there are points involved. They must have some practice under these conditions.

V) Three learning types

A) Audio
B) Visual
C) Kinesthetic

VI) Opposite-Hand Learning

A) Speeds up learning
B) Helps with corrections

VII) Relation of Sport Psychology

A) Sport Psychology can help trigger the correct motor response via:

1) Visualization and Imagery
2) Rituals


Sport Psychology is moving away from a narrow mental focus to a study of the links between the body and the mind.

I) Ideal Performance State

A) Tanking
B) Anger
C) Choking
D) Ideal Performance State

II) Visualization & Imagery

A) Visualization = skill + outcome
B) Imagery = skill
C) What do they do? Help brain send correct message to muscles.

III) Rituals

A) Trigger correct motor response

1) Repetition
2) Familiarity

IV) Principles of Goal Setting

A) Set performance goals, not just outcome goals
B) Make them challenging enough
C) Realistic
D) Make them specific, not general
E) Short-term, intermediate and long-term
F) Individualize

V) Importance of the Score

A) Helps you anticipate opponent’s likely strategy
B) Helps you plan your point

VI) “Big Points”

A) Try to win every point

1) 99% of matches are won by the person who wins the most points
2) 97% of matches are won by the person who wins the most series of points
3) Belief in “Big Points” adds stress

VII) Take Time Between Points

A) Rituals trigger correct motor responses
B) Lets you lower heart rate
C) Calms you down
D) Helps body rest and regenerate

VIII) Training with Target Areas and Points

A) Points and target areas simulate the match environment and prepare your player to perform desired motor skills in actual match play.

IX) Parent/Player/Coach Relationship

A) It is the coach’s responsibility to develop and maintain this relationship
B) Parents should generally not be involved in coaching

1) Involve parents in diet, statistics, goal-setting, etc.

C) Watch out for parents who tie love/acceptance to winning
D) Watch out for parents who live through their children
E) Winning at tennis should not be tied to self-esteem

X) Reward vs. Punishment

A) Reward should not evolve into motivation for performance
B) Punishment (push-ups) should be for a specific reason (hitting a ball on two bounces); should not violate training principles (tire a player during a workout) and should not imprint to the student that the punishment (sit-ups) is a bad thing (vegetables vs. dessert).

XI) Elements of a productive practice

A) Warm-up and stretch
B) On-court warm-up
C) Practice previously-learned skills
D) Practice new skills
E) Practice competitive situations
F) Play sets
G) Conditioning
H) Cool-down


I) What is “Power?”

A) Force = Mass X Acceleration
B) Body Mass
C) The Kinetic Chain
D) Linear vs. Angular Momentum

II) Stroke Mechanics

A) Forehand

1) Closed Stance
2) Open Stance

B) Backhand

1) One-handed
2) Two-handed

C) Return of Serve
D) Serve

1) Kinetic Chain
2) Ball Toss (High vs. Low)

E) Volley

1) Eliminate the Arm

F) Topspin Lob

G) Pull-through (females) vs. push-through (males) motions

III) Footwork

IV) Sweetspots

Sports Medicine

I) Two types of injuries

A) Traumatic
B) Repetitive Stress

II) Most injuries are overuse and/or repetitive stress injuries

A) Shoulder is #1 injury area
B) Knee is second most injured area
C) Flexibility is important to preventing injuries, along with proper mechanics

III) Sprains & Strains

A) R.I.C.E. is NOT nice

When to use heat and when to use ice

IV) Heat Stroke

A) Can be fatal and/or cause brain damage.

1) Proper hydration is vital
2) Wear a hat made of light or thin material
3) Light colors reflect heat/dark colors absorb heat
4) Change wet shirts

V) Cramps

A) Proper nutrition includes complex carbs, potassium, sodium, etc.
B) Proper conditioning
C) Proper hydration
D) Stress can cause cramps
E) Do not give salt tablets before going on court

Sport Science Quiz

1) Tennis is (aerobic/anaerobic).

2) Tennis performance relies primarily on (protein/fat/carbohydrates).

3) The following contributes to cramps and muscle fatigue (glycogen/ATP/lactic acid).

4) Aerobic exercise is best performed in the (Pre-Season/Pre-Competitive Season/

Competitive Season/Off-Season).

5) New skills should be developed in the (Pre-Season/Pre-Competitive Season/

Competitive Season/Off-Season).

6) Match-play skills should be developed in the (Pre-Season/Pre-Competitive Season/Competitive Season/Off-Season).

7) Shot-making should be developed in the (Pre-Season/Pre-Competitive Season/

Competitive Season/Off-Season).

8) Strength, power and endurance workouts should be (high volume and low intensity/

low volume and high intensity).

9) Speed, agility and quickness workouts should be (high volume and low intensity/

low volume and high intensity).

10) List five types of foods that are high in complex carbohydrates:

11) List the three reasons tennis players need to drink during a match:

12) List the three different types of feeds:

13) The state of mind closest to the Ideal Performance State is (tanking/anger/choking).

14) List one benefit of knowing the score:

15) List one physical and one psychological benefit of taking time between points.

16) Upper body rotation is an example of (angular/linear) momentum.

17) Pushing off the ground during a serve is an example of (angular/linear) momentum.

18) In which part of the racquet should you strike the ball for maximum speed on a serve?

19) During a groundstroke, the wrist should (be stable/accelerate).

20) Most injuries are (traumatic/overload).

21) The area of the body most often injured by repetitive stress in tennis is the (elbow/knee/shoulder)

22) What does R.I.C.E stand for?

23) List two ways to prevent heat stroke:

24) It is better to wear (light/dark) colored clothing outdoors.

25) Drinks are best taken (warm/chilled/iced).

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