Balance in tennis
The word “balance” is quite capacious, used in various fields of activity and has several semantic meanings. What is the role of “balance” in tennis?
Body Balance (Equilibrium)
There are a number of sports related to cycling, motorcycle, skating, skiing, etc., requiring a particularly developed sense of balance. But even in tennis, one of the most important requirements for hitting and moving around the court is body balance.
To perform a correct blow, the upper body should be almost vertical with a slight forward inclination, the chin should be in a horizontal position (author’s note – if the head is “empty”, then the position of the head does not matter), and the legs should be in a stable position with support on the front part of the feet. If this position (finding the center of gravity above the fulcrum) is not observed, then the coordination of movements is disturbed and the number of inaccurate hits on the ball increases. This is often seen when a tennis player has difficulty reaching the distant balls and has to significantly shift his body weight forward or to the side. However, novice tennis players, when hitting “comfortable” balls, often do not control their balance, and then wonder why they did not hit the ball with the center of the string surface of the racket.
Stable balance of the body is also necessary to enhance the impact. The fact is that in order to transfer the kinetic energy of the propelling racket to the ball with maximum efficiency, it is necessary to balance the body so that it is possible to easily push off the ground with both legs. It is the force of repulsion through the legs and torso that increases the force of the impact. In physics, this phenomenon is known as Newton’s Third Law (the law of “action and reaction”).
Balance also influences the execution of the “split”, which tennis players use for a faster start in one of the directions in response to the opponent’s corresponding action at the moment the ball breaks off the string surface of his racket (read more about the split and footwork here).
It is also necessary to maintain balance in the process of fast movement, the so-called “dynamic balance”. It is characteristic of a rapid run (in any direction), when the center of gravity of the body moves to the front edge of the fulcrum, which borders on a state of unstable balance. And when approaching the ball, the balance must be transferred to the position characteristic of the shock movement. Note that the best way to move is the so-called “side step” (when moving to the sides) and “cross step” (when moving forward and backward), when the body is in almost perfect balance all the time.
Balance of forces and techniques (balance of the game)
Many tennis players overreact to what is happening during the game. For example, some of them tend to exaggerate the problematic points in the game. Of course, no one will be pleased with the wrong hit. But you should not go into prostration because of this. One mistake does not mean that it will necessarily repeat itself. On the other hand, winning a point or even a set does not guarantee further victories.
Renowned tennis psychologist Allen Fox advises tennis players to try to stay somewhere in the middle of the “emotional spectrum.” Undoubtedly, a positive emotional state “charges” the player for a better game (author’s note – There is also such an emotional type of tennis players in whom anger, on the contrary, “turns them on” to achieve victory, but this is more the exception than the rule. Jimmy Connors were examples of this) and John McEnroe). But if this positive emotional state is not kept at some reasonable level, there is a danger of getting the player under the adrenaline rush. No one is able to endure that level of positive energy (and, as a result, adrenaline) throughout the match. In some cases, adrenaline disappears, and the player finds himself in an emotional and energetic vacuum, not knowing what to do with it.
All that is needed is a balanced response (positive or negative) to the situation that has arisen. A player can lose a match to a stronger opponent or a tennis player who is in better shape, but he will never lose due to nerves if the emotional state was in balance.
Balancing the competitive training process
Most modern trainers support the concept of periodization. Periodization is a balanced approach to competition, training and rest. No tennis player can show his best tennis all the time. Therefore, the balance in the training and competition process must be planned in such a way that its peak of sports form falls on the most important tournaments.
An unbalanced competitive training process is one of the main reasons for the “crisis” in the performances of tennis players.
To this list can be added such concepts as “nutritional balance” and “racket balance”, but these are related factors indirectly affecting the results of tennis matches and battles (matches and tournaments).
SUMMARY. In order to achieve a high level of play, it is necessary to achieve balance in tennis.