How To Warm Up For Tennis And Why It's So ImportantYou've probably watched tennis pros on TV warm up from the baseline for a few minutes and then go through most of the shots to “warm them up”. But if you watch them at practice you'll often see them warm up with mini tennis for a few minutes – just like the rest of us.
But warming up with mini tennis can be done well or not so well. You can see both examples in the video below and then we'll focus more on why it's so important to warm up well on mini court.
Here are 5 goals you can work on while playing mini tennis very actively:
1. Raise the body temperature and general activation of the body. Your body will be exposed to much more demanding situations in a tennis game compared to your normal state when sitting or walking.
And if the muscles are not warmed up, they are not very flexible. You can quickly strain a tendon with a quick movement that happens when you sprint for the ball or suddenly have to stop.
Your body (parts) also needs to move faster and you're actually “waking” your body in order to perform at higher levels of difficulty than usual.
2. You're getting the feel for hitting the ball with the whole kinetic chain. If you warm up on mini court as I show in the first example where I basically did not move and just hit the ball with the arm, then this feeling can transfer back to the baseline and you'll have troubles finding the rhythm and finding the feel of hitting the ball with your body and leg drive.
That's why it's critical that you immediately start to engage your full body – starting from quick and swift footwork for getting to the ball and then pushing from the ground and into body rotation and the strokes.
Everything is done in controlled manner while the whole body moves in coordination.
3. Raising the focus and alert level of the brain. Your brain did not have to coordinate the whole body in demanding situations for the most part of your day.
It needs to get warmed up for tennis. Your brain also did not perform extremely challenging calculations of the trajectory of the ball in very short time frames and it needs to warm up for that too.
If it doesn't warm up well, it will make errors in calculations and you'll make mistakes.
4. Establishing good timing and contact point. Your brain didn't need to time your movements with small moving objects coming towards you with high speed before you stepped on the tennis court. Now it has to do that.
And mini tennis is the perfect middle step to perform before you go back to the baseline and into real situations. Your eyes also didn't need to track very accurately small moving objects and once you rally from the baseline, they'll have to.
So it's important to really see the ball well, warm up the tracking of the ball and finding ideal contact point by being aware how close to the sweet spot you hit the ball.
5. Getting the feel for the ball, strings and the court. Even if you play every day you know that you might start your tennis lesson or a match with old or new balls and with old or new strings.
This gives you different feel and you have to adjust to those conditions very quickly. Again the mini tennis warm up helps you do that.
In summary, if you warm up properly on mini court, you'll warm up all the “systems” needed for the real game and you'll make a much smoother transition from not so demanding situations before you stepped on the court to much more demanding situations that happen in the real game of tennis.
A good warm up lowers the chances of hurting yourself, enables you to immediately start hitting the ball well from the baseline and therefore increases your satisfaction and enjoyment of the game and allows you to get a quick head start in a match because your opponent most likely did not warm up well.
It's now up to you to decide on which side of the equation you want to be...