Category Archives: Fitness Tip

JMTA Announces 2013-14 Seminar Series Topics and Speakers

Lawrence Kleger, Director of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, recently announced the 2013-14 JMTA Seminar Series. Over the course of the JMTA season, Lawrence and other JMTA, Sportime, and USTA representatives will be hosting a series of seminars designed to give parents and students insight into what it takes to succeed in today’s competitive junior tennis environment.  This 8 part seminar series begins Sunday, October 27th when Lawrence takes the podium in an “Ask the Director” session.  Other topics that will be covered and the speakers include: The College Process, with former Brown University head coach and current Sportime Roslyn General Manager, Jay Harris; USTA Eastern Section Tournament Schedule and 2014 National Junior Competition Changes, with Julie Bliss of USTA Eastern section; A Coaches Perspective: What it Means to be a Coach?, hosted by JMTA Assistant Academy Director, Nate Emge;  The Parent’s Role, with JMTA Assistant Academy Director,  Felix Alvarado; Mental Toughness, with JMTA Assistant Academy Director,  Bruce Haddad; Off-Court Training, with former world top ten singles and doubles player and JMTA Associate Academy Director, Peter Fleming; and What it Takes to be a Champion, with none other than Johnny Mac himself.

Fitness Tip of the Week – The Impact of Court Surface

It’s that time of year where not only are professional tennis players changing court surface – hard to clay, clay to grass and then back to hard, but so are many competitive junior players.  The change of surface can have a huge impact not only on your game, but also on your body. The change and impact can often result in injuries; therefore, it is important to know what you need to look out for when changing court surfaces.

Read below for tips and pointers on how you can prevent injuries when playing on clay or hard court surfaces: 

Clay Court Surface

  • Longer points                                       Increased endurance needed
  • Ball bounces higher                           Avoid overuse of the wrist and elbow
  • Less impact                                          Reduced load through joints
  • More ‘sliding’                                        Increased tendency for groin strains

Top Training Tips

  • Increase endurance training
    • Intervals treadmill/bike/elliptical – 5 x 5 min intervals with 1 minute rests
  • Lateral movement drills
    • Bounds/slides
  • Work on technique to ensure full use of your scapula thoracic rotation (upper back and scapula) to avoid overuse of shoulder, elbow and wrist
    •  Throw medicine ball against a wall

 Hard Court Surface

  • Faster pace                                  Increased anaerobic endurance(sprint training)
  • Rapid change of direction       Increased risk of ankle and knee injury                                              
  • Higher impact                             Increased load on joints

Top Training Tips

  • Interval training 40 seconds high intensity/20 secs rest – 10x 1 min rest – 3 sets
  • On court acceleration/deceleration drills with change of direction – Spider drill
  • Lower limb stability exercises – balance and strength
  • Explosive first step – Plyometric drills into sprints 

Written by Director of Performance, Sophie Scott.

Sophie Scott

Sophie Scott
Director of Performance

Tournament Preparation – Top tips!

BE PREPARED – As the great basketball coach, John Wooden said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Plan ahead and don’t leave anything to chance.  Make sure that you take everything you need with you.  Excellent preparation is key to success in all tournaments. 

Bag Check

  • Rackets- Enough
  • Shoes– Have an extra pair in your bag!
  • Grips– Over grips get warn
  • Strings– At least 3 or 4 sets
  • Clothes (spare set of match kit, extra socks)
  • Hat/visor– A spare is not a bad ideal
  • Towel– Very Important
  • Drinks– Water, sports drinks
  • Snacks– Make them healthy snacks! Fruit, energy bars
  • Medical kit – Band aids/tape/braces/any medicines/Advil or Tylenol
  • Sunscreen– At least SPF 32 or higher
  • Ipod- Whatever relaxes and/or gets you up!


If traveling by plane, stay well hydrated on the flight. Drink lots of fluids — water, fruit smoothies or diluted sports drinks. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as sodas. Do not skip meals; in flight choose the high carbohydrate meal such as chicken and pasta or rice.

On arrival at your destination, try to go for a light jog or bike ride for 20 minutes and then stretch to ensure you are best prepared to train and play the following day.


It is essential that you stay well hydrated as dehydration can significantly affect your performance. Sweat contains salts also known as electrolytes; these salts are needed for the body to function normally. When a player loses too much salt, it can result in muscle cramps. During practice and play, especially in hot climates, electrolytes need to be replaced – drink sports drinks and lots of water.

Before and during practice/match

Drink water or a carbohydrate-based sports drink that contains electrolytes. You will need to replace at minimum 80% of sweat loss during a match. Generally it is recommended that you drink 4-8 swallows of a sports drink and water on every change over.

After practice/match

It is important to start the recovery process immediately following your match. Start drinking as soon as you come off court. Sports recovery drinks or low fat milk shakes are ideal to help refuel and rehydrate.

Ensure you start each day well hydrated, you can check the color of your urine against a ‘pee chart’ (see below).

Pee Chart


In order to play and perform at your best level, you must be correctly fuelled for competition.  Carbohydrate is the key fuel for energy so the priority is to optimize your carbohydrate stores prior to your tournament by ensuring you have a healthy balanced diet.

Check out what food and drink will be available at the venue, and then bring your own supply of sports drinks, recovery drinks and energy bars — You will need them!

Pre-match meal

Aim to eat a carbohydrate rich meal 2-3 hours before your match – pasta /noodles/ rice/couscous, and chicken/ breakfast cereal and whole grain toast/ lean meat sandwich / pita breads

If you are unsure what time you are playing, ensure you have a snack with you to top up your energy stores 1 hour before you play – for example, energy/cereal or granola bar, low fat muffin or dried fruit.

And remember, Never ‘skip’ breakfast and Keep drinking fluids!

Post match nutrition

Good recovery will ensure that you play your best for your next match. To recover well, you need to rapidly restock your carbohydrate stores, replace fluid and salt losses. An active recovery also includes post match stretching and rest.

Aim to have a carbohydrate and protein-based meal or snack within 30 minutes of playing even if the recovery time is short between matches.

Examples of recovery snacks:
Sports recovery drinks/low fat milk shakes/Yogurt-based fruit smoothies/cereal or sports recovery bar/lean meat sandwich/ breakfast cereal/bananas      

Warm up

Players should always aim to have completed a brief 10 -20 minute warm-up to ensure they are both physically and mentally prepared to play. This will also reduce the risk of injury. Both mental and physical preparation are key components to becoming a successful tennis player; be prepared to start fast and get the edge on your opponents.

Components of the warm up

  1. Heat generation: Players should perform some form of cardiovascular activity so that they generate a light sweat, this can be done on court or in the gym; jogging, stationary bike, jump rope
  2. Dynamic stretching: Involves moving parts of the body, gradually increasing with reach and/or speed of movement to the limits of the players range of motion
  3. Tennis specific: On court, this can be done while getting prepared to play or before and should include movements to mimic tennis strokes.

Cool down or active recovery

You should aim (if time permits) to take part in active recovery involving a light jog and stretch prior to your nutritional recovery strategies.


  • If you have any nagging injuries, ensure you know how to best manage them while you are away.
  • If you develop a new injury seek the advice of the onsite trainer. Ice should be applied post match to any areas that are sore.

Good Luck!

Sophie Scott

Sophie Scott
Director of Performance

Fitness Tip of the Week – Sophie Scott

JMTA Nutrition and Hydration Tips 

Healthy nutrition and hydration are key components to helping you feel good and play better. It is not always easy to eat and drink well when you are busy and on the go – it is all too easy to slip into bad habits of unhealthy snacks and sodas.

Top Tips for Healthy Eating:

  • Always eat breakfast (oatmeal, low fat cereal, toast, bagel) and don’t skip meals
  • Have a healthy snack before your JMTA session or match
  • Try to eat and drink within 30 minutes of training
  • Stay hydrated by always carrying a water bottle and taking regular sips
  • Sports drinks – if using a sports drink, take a few sips and then top off with water to dilute

Healthy Snacks Options:

  • Cereal bars, low fat muffins, fruit, dried fruit, pretzels, filled wholegrain sandwiches or bagels (lean meat/low fat cream cheese), vegetable sticks and hummus, nuts, fruit yogurts and smoothies 

Post Training Meal:

  • Whole wheat pasta or rice with grilled chicken or fish and vegetables

    Sophie, Scott

    Sophie Scott
    Director of Performance

Sophie is a United Kingdom trained Osteopath and Performance Enhancement Specialist with over 12 years experience working in professional sport.  For the past 5 years, Sophie has worked at the Lawn Tennis Association with top British tennis players, including Andy Murray and junior Wimbledon champion Laura Robson. She has traveled internationally to all the Grand Slams, as well as many of the other major tour events and the Federation Cup. Sophie was instrumental in the design and set up of the musculoskeletal screening programme for all the elite British players at National Tennis Centre in London. Prior to her time with the LTA, Sophie worked as part of the multidisciplinary medical team at Fulham Football club in the UK’s Premier League for 7 years, working with international soccer players including Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey and Edwin van der Sar.

Fitness Tip of the Week –Director of Performance Sophie Scott

Sophie, Scott

Sophie Scott
Director of Performance

Warm Up – be prepared!

Whether getting ready for a tournament or a JMTA clinic, players should always aim to have completed a brief 10-20 minute warm-up to ensure they are both physically and mentally prepared and have taken precautions to reduce the risk of injury. It is often difficult to find time to warm up if rushing from school to a lesson or match, however being prepared when you arrive will allow you to get on the court early and start warming up.

Upon arrival to your clinic or tournament, have everything ready to go; racket, shoes, and water, then head straight to the court by jogging a few laps or jump rope while waiting for your session/match to begin. Both mental and physical preparations are keys to becoming a successful tennis player; start as you intend to go on the court and get an edge on your opponent.

Components of a good warm up:

  • Heat Generation – Players should perform some type of cardiovascular activity so they can generate a light sweat. This can be done on-court or in the gym by jogging, biking or jumping rope.
  • Dynamic Stretching – Involves moving parts of the body, gradually increasing with reach and/or speed movement to the limits of your range of motion.  
  • Tennis Specific – On court, mimic tennis strokes at the beginning of your match or lesson to increase fluidly of motion. 


Training Insights from Star Athletes

Brian Sell, Natalie Coughlin, Meredith Kessler

Photo Credit: Left, Suzy Allman for The New York Times; center, Doug Mills/The New York Times; right, Jeff Kapic

“Of course elite athletes are naturally gifted. And of course they train hard and may have a phalanx of support staff — coaches, nutritionists, psychologists. But they often have something else that gives them an edge: an insight, or even an epiphany, that vaults them from the middle of the pack to the podium.

I asked several star athletes about the single realization that made the difference for them. While every athlete’s tale is intensely personal, it turns out there are some common themes.…” Read full article here.

A New York Times Article by Gina Kolata