The concept is to enhance kinetic energy transfer (kinetic chain efficiency) because it reduces the risk for injury and optimizes power output since no energy is being “wasted”. Kinetic chain efficiency (or download the free eBook: “Basic Introduction to Weightlifting for Tennis”), amongst other things, can be accomplished by making the athlete very balanced with their strength so that the joints function properly, which can be accomplished by enhancing range of motion (ROM)/flexibility.

Take for example the “house building” analogy: A house will become a sound structure if the walls and beams (connecting points) are strong enough to support the weight of the roof, otherwise the house collapses, no matter how thick (strong) the walls are going to be. During body building one isolates certain muscle groups and makes them stronger like the walls in the house but the supporting musculature surrounding the joint (like the beams in the house) remain “weak” because machines stabilize the action during “body building”. On the other hand during Olympic lifts (e.g. Hang Snatch) the athlete needs to stabilize everything without the help of any external object, which means that the surrounding musculature (e.g. stabilizers) will also become stronger like the beams in the house “building” analogy.

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So, the goal is to make the athletes very balanced (muscle balanced) with their strength and increase range of motion so that the joints function properly. Then you apply everything else, e.g. agility training.

Most coaches just want to focus on resistance or speed but if one makes something faster or one makes something stronger but it’s already imbalanced then one will increase the imbalance, which will then commonly lead to injury and hence the coach did nothing that was beneficial.

So let’s assume we have an athlete without any imbalances and ready to start agility training. Agility is a component of speed training and speed is defined as “the ability to produce force rapidly to move at a high velocity”. However, there are multiple aspects to speed:

  • Speed Economy: assures that minimal excess energy is expended (wasted) to perform the athletic movement
  • Speed Strength: provides for production of rapidly implemented force
  • Speed Endurance: allows the athlete to perform the action repeatedly

Generally, speed economy improvements are realized through flexibility – and stability/balance training. Improving speed-strength is the focus in the weight room, while speed endurance training takes place on the court (e.g. agility drills) or on the running track.

MOST COACHES JUST WANT TO FOCUS ON RESISTANCE OR SPEED BUT IF ONE MAKES SOMETHING FASTER OR STRONGER BUT IT’S ALREADY IMBALANCED THEN ONE WILL INCREASE THE IMBALANCE, WHICH WILL THEN COMMONLY LEAD TO INJURY AND HENCE THE COACH DID NOTHING THAT WAS BENEFICIAL.

Agility is defined as “the ability to move quickly and to change direction rapidly” and often is a component of speed endurance. Therefore, an athlete who is agile can rapidly accelerate in one direction, quickly decelerate, and speedily accelerate in a different direction.

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First is the enhancement of movement mechanics, which refers to improving speed economy, which has a positive effect on speed-strength and endurance. If less energy is being wasted, more energy is available, which allows for faster movements (speed-strength) while delaying the onset of fatigue (speed endurance). So basically the athlete learns the respective agility drill movement patterns in perfect form.

Once the athlete has the movement patterns down in perfect form then the speed increases during agility drills; the agility drills (movement patterns) emulate movement patterns seen during tennis (mainly lateral and sagittal movements).

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