This summer holidays, we focussed on my son’s endurance (mainly) and strength. Just before holidays, he played an u12 tournament, which was round robin. He was required to play four 3-set matches in one day. He lost all of them but that was not the concern. In his 4th match, he was so tired he didn’t even try. He threw away a match, which could have been a learning exercise irrespective of win or loss. That was an eye opener as I did not think he would have any endurance issue.
While I could easily dismiss his loss in 4th match, given his older and higher skilled opponents, instead, I was looking for answers. I was trying to understand why he lost his energy while his opponents did not look that exhausted (they all played equal amount of Tennis).
One difference was the playing style. My son’s playing style is very fast paced and also he hits ball very hard. That style is not only prone to unforced errors (main reasons for his losses) but can also make player very tired (given current age and maturity). This is in very contrast with other players, who mainly play defensive and make sure the ball is returned somehow and wait for opponent’s unforced errors.
[This is actually a smart play and typically observed in u12s and ATP Pros (21+ age)- infact there is a published study to established this fact.
Between 13 and 21 years (inexperienced but highly talented) of age, players play very hard and also at very fast pace.
My son follows RF (and hence that game style), who is an exception to above observation, as he plays hard and fast…but he makes more winners than errors].
One part of the solution is to learn how to pace through a match which will come with experience. The other part is to prepare his body to support that style of game play. And one that requirement is endurance.
Over the holidays, we took leave from Tennis (also from his coach). I got him enrolled in an athletics squad, once a week for a couple of hrs. It was interesting for him as well as this was the first time he actually saw a professional track let alone run on it.
He also started doing 5k run three more mornings in a week. Rest of the mornings, we focussed on his strength using his body weight and some cable system I had at my home. In evenings, we were on Tennis court for another 3 hrs practice moving on court.
It was hard -very hard. We managed to do that for almost a month. I wish we could do longer. My family members didn’t like that 😛. But to my surprise, my son did not complain …. well not more than his usual 😀… I don’t push him, if he says no some days we would not do anything that day. Its always his choice but idea is to stay firm. So when he decides to do, we do it properly or we don’t do it at all.
I think he improved a little bit after that. His movement is a bit better on the court. I also tested him a few times with a 16 year old daughter of our family friend. She was allowed to be brutal on court and yet he was able to stay with her for couple of hrs in one go.
That was encouraging but a real test would be in a proper match. As this was offseason, he did not have any matches and because of school holidays all other kids were away as well. He will be well tested in the new season.🙂
He also turned nine in late Dec. We will focus a little back on Tennis and hopefully he will continue to work hard.
Hard work is hard, but once he appreciates the fruits of his hard work, he will be addicted to his wellbeing – physically and mentally.
And that’s when the fun starts 🙂
Hope this new year brings him closer to that stage of his life.