loris bertolacci

Sport, Health and Fitness

Time to start measuring LOAD in Tennis

Tennis is a massive industry. We all get seduced by these earnings outlined in FORBES for 2015.   Business of Tennis FORBES magazine

tennis-richest-players

The coaching industry is also massive and at the top of the tree are these academies all around the world which simply are big $ all round. Players arrive and train non stop and there is no doubting the quality of some but there in starts some issues with loads and ongoing awareness of what is required to reach the holy grail in tennis.

The best Tennis Academies World Wide

tennis-academies

What do Tennis Coaches earn in OZ?

And then the basic coaching business worldwide is massive with tennis coaches operating out of clubs and creating squads. Add the fitness component to what many parents pay and added medical and equipment costs and one can see why there are not too many 1990 Hyundais is suburban tennis car parks at squad training.

Then there is the stark reality that few players ever “make it” on the senior tour and less make any $. A very odd sport when the 800th AFL player can do quite well whilst the 300th tennis player eats no brand food daily .

% of players earning $ on PRO TOUR!

Given the massive $ input from parents, they often become very involved stakeholders in driving the young player and planning and training. Coaches obviously know who pays them so the end result is simply a mess and crazy loads and commitment.

Subjectively I have found a certain machismo about tennis coaches who preach mental toughness and hard driving training but I struggle to understand the premise of their philosophies.

So where I am heading? Well when young players engage in AFL or Soccer for example there is some regularity with training and competition. Tennis is quite the opposite. Cynically it is worth the coaches telling players to train more because at an average of $60 a session that is good business. Then with tournaments at every level LOADS are all over the place because one can lose on Day 1 and do nothing or play 3 games a day for a week.

Recent research talks about a sweet sport of training. Also recent research does lead to fact that training has to be consistent and quite hard. But with tennis no one has any idea of what the sweet spot is. And the fallout is massive from injury perspective and also psychological. We all hear about the parent who drove their child from birth to success but do not hear about all the failures in every city of the world off the back of millions of $ invested in coaching and development ( or lack of).

Tennis Load Management and Injuries . British Journal Sports Medicine

So with the advent of wearables that measure everything, video analysis, using perceived exertion rate, wellness input and many other objective systems one can track LOADS and hopefully find a sweet spot for individuals. Some elite players have been well managed and some have snuck thorugh poor management and massive loads due to luck and more so often good genetics. ( Made of steel!). My gut is many in the tennis industry may not want to track loads because it may cost them income.

Tennis needs a lot more research to understanding how much training is required, how much skill development, time on court and so on. It is a closed shop at the elite level.

Reality is we have been led to believe that tennis is different! Always hear the same story from every sport. But there is a sweet spot of training and leaving school at 14 and doing nothing but training all day may not be the best solution.

More to come on this topic

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September 25, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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