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ssc

Change of Direction in Tennis: Off-Court Split Step & Recovery Training - Part 2

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Change of Direction in Tennis: Off-Court Split Step & Recovery Training - Part 2

Last week we introduced reactive strength and its underpinning qualities. If you haven’t read that post, I strongly encourage you to do so, as it’ll provide a scientific rationale for what’s to come in this article.

Recall that reactive strength is effectively the fast component of the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) - SSC activity being a rapid change from an eccentric to a concentric contraction that produces more power than would be possible with a concentric only contraction. We also determined that reactive strength is quite important as it relates to change of direction (COD) in tennis. There are 2 reasons for this. First, it’ll improve a player’s split-step ability - effectively allowing for a faster first step initiation - AND it can help with movements - along with recoveries - that are short but require high levels of explosiveness (think of shots that are near you but are coming at you with speed).

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Change of Direction in Tennis Part 1 - How Ankle Stiffness Improves Movement Effectiveness

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Change of Direction in Tennis Part 1 - How Ankle Stiffness Improves Movement Effectiveness

The ability to respond quickly and efficiently to an oncoming shot, is perhaps one of the most important qualities a tennis player must possess. This ability is predicated on a number of factors including anticipatory skills, perception skills - picking up cues from the other side of the net, judging the ball appropriately etc. - along with physical qualities, one of them being reactiveness. Further to that, it helps when a player has tremendous change of direction (COD) abilities. Why? Because the player that can recover more efficiently after their previous shot, has a better chance to not only better 'see' the next shot, but also has the ability to respond to that shot with less ‘emergency’ - a term many coaches use.

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