Why are then Champions indeed born? I will answer this question in depth in my next article.
In the meantime remember speed and strength are very important in tennis and how fast you are is genetically predetermined at birth by the fast twitching muscle fibbers your forefathers gave you and the balanced strength of your overall body. So to reap the benefits of “your” maximum natural inborn speed you need to develop the following good habits:
– Go to a track and field and watch carefully all the routines of track and field 100 meter runners, they do all the right things. Copy their exercises even the stretches and cool down exercises.
– If you are lucky enough to be attending a college or in an area were sprinters abound and you are good enough, ask the Coach if you could participate in their speed training program. Its an enlightening experience, I can vouch for that!
– Then develop excellent starting technique certificate individual support (similar to the 50 meter dash sprinters)
– Explosivity (Age appropriate exercises include use of weights, elastics, force-resistance etc..)
– Learn to release the tennis racket from supporting hand and pump like any sprinter in large distances (up to 10 meters a cross the court – to drop shots, angle shots)
– Parallel acceleration by leading your baseline starts always with big powerful FIRST step towards the incoming wide ball, right foot forehand, left foot backhand – lefties, right foot backhand, left foot forehand, while strongly pushing off with the opposite foot on the same direction (the ball).
– Use these techniques on the practice court first, then on point play and finally on match play.
You must feel comfortable with what is your maximum 100 meter speed, be it 11”, 10,30”, 10 seconds, (or the 50, 20, 10 meter or start reaction time) whatever it is, once you achieved it in power and technique it will be “your” maximum speed for the rest of your life with very little fluctuations from day to day. The important thing is that you fought and worked hard to achieve that goal and you should be immensely proud of yourself and your tennis will greatly benefit from it. Never compare yourself to others or feel bad about not being as good as so and so, measure yourself against yourself and the clock and you will always be happy with your achievements.