How to Improve Your Tennis Game with Pilates

As those summer months get closer, now is the perfect opportunity to head into our Pilates studio and improve your tennis game by working on strengthening your body, improving your balance, enhancing your flexibility and building your core strength. Whether you have tried Pilates before, or are interested in it for the first time, our upcoming Pilates for Tennis six-week workshop is the perfect opportunity for you to boost your tennis techniques off the court. Pilates programs are always ongoing and available for you to take and improve your tennis game.

Under the guidance of our talented instructor Erica Bruenton, you will use the six principles of Pilates as a foundation for drawing connections between the fundamentals of both Pilates and tennis.

  1. Concentration: Pilates is contingent on developing the connection between the mind and the body. Just like in tennis, you are never focusing on one thing at a time. It is particularly important to learn how to focus on your body’s powerhouse, the transverse/oblique/rectus abdominis, as well as the inner thighs and glutes. A big piece of bringing that together is the ability to concentrate and think about how the different muscles of your body are working together. You are engaging in similar activities on the tennis court, such as concentrating on multiple areas including stroke mechanics, swing speed, follow through, and recovering back to a ready position after you return the ball.
  2. Centering: In Pilates we initiate movement from our powerhouse–all movement comes from the center. The core is equally important in tennis. If you visualize yourself on the court, there is a lot of rotational movement. Pilates encourages you to think about the kinetic chain of movement, where you are transferring energy from the ground, through your legs, core, and then into your shoulder, arm, wrist, which ultimately results in racquet head speed. Finding your center, as well as learning how to move it efficiently, will help increase your technique for generating power on the tennis court.
  3. Control: Pilates helps strengthen your understanding of how to coordinate the movement of your body. For example, various Pilates exercises work on moving your legs and arms while keeping your abs engaged and pelvis stable. Control is equally important in tennis. On the tennis court, you utilize the split step to feel in control of your body as you get ready to take your next shot.
  4. Breathing: Do you ever find yourself holding your breath when you play tennis, as you hit the ball or react to get in position for a shot? This is a common issue among many tennis players, and an area in which taking Pilates can be extremely beneficial. Pilates teaches you to link your breath with movement. As a tennis player, this teaches you to incorporate breathing techniques to enhance fluidity in your movement on the court.
  5. Precision: As a tennis player, when you hit the ball you visualize where you want your shot to go. Similarly, in Pilates we build on concentration and control to achieve precision in movement. Pilates teaches you to engage your abdominals to stabilize your pelvis. Achieving stability and mobility that allows your joints to move through a healthy range of motion is very important, not just on the tennis court, but in your everyday activities.
  6. Flowing Movement: Perhaps one of the most important aspects of tennis is being able to put all of your techniques together. In a tennis lesson or in drill, this might mean transitioning from baseline groundstroke, to a down the line approach shot, to a cross court volley to finish the point. When it comes to a match, you have to be able to put everything together to get the win. The concept of flowing movement within Pilates is the ability to move through a repertoire of exercises with fluidity. In Pilates, this is achieved through transition exercises, like teaser and the roll up, where you build strength while continuing to flow between different exercises.

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(These images feature a progression series, where Tennis Professional Suzette Riddle is using the reformer’s straps to work through a progression of exercises that work on concentration, centering and control).

In the Pilates for Tennis class,  the majority of your exercises on the reformer, which is the spring-loaded apparatus. The color coordinated springs represent the different amounts of tension that are used during the workout.

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On the apparatus itself, you will be moving through a variety of positions. The videos below, featuring Tennis Professional Suzette Riddle, show different exercises that can be performed on the reformer that will help you build strength and coordination both on and off the court.

Sign up for Pilates for Tennis to secure your spot. There is no equipment necessary, just come willing to work with Erica! We are excited to offer two classes, one on Tuesdays @ 12:00-12:55pm from April 4 to May 9, and then other on Saturdays from 8:00-8:55am from April 8 to May 20 (with the exception of the Saturday before Easter, there will be no class on April 15).

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If you can’t make it to this course, Erica Bruenton is always more than willing to work one-on-one with clients, feel free to contact her to schedule a session!