Fitness Testing

This section provides information on the following tests:

Aerobic Endurance Tests

Anaerobic Endurance Tests

Strength Tests

Upper Body Power Tests

Lower Body Power Tests

Agility Tests

Speed Tests

Flexibility Tests

The success of the training program is largely dependent upon satisfying the performance aims associated with it. The intention of fitness testing is to evaluate specific aspects of a player’s physical condition so that training programs and performance goals can be set.

This section will highlight the principal reasons for testing and outline protocols and procedures to follow. All tests described are tennis-specific and can be performed on the tennis court or in a well-equipped gym. None of the tests require significant technical competence on the part of the player.

Protocols and Procedures in Testing

The same testing protocol should be adhered to if the tests are to be administered in the most reliable and valid fashion so that the progress of a player’s fitness can be monitored. In doing so, all tests should therefore be:

- Specific (designed to assess an athlete’s fitness for playing tennis).

- Valid (test what it is supposed to test and nothing else.)

- Reliable (capable of consistent repetition so that no factors other than those under examination can account for any improvement or deterioration in performance).

- Objective (produce a consistent result irrespective of the tester).

What are the purposes of testing?

Fitness testing is conducted for the following reasons:

- Results help to quantify a coach’s own subjective appraisal. The subsequent identification of an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses allows training regimes and techniques to be manipulated/maintained to accommodate the specific needs of each individual.

- Conducting tests on a regular basis provides feedback on the effectiveness of the intervening program and enables coaches to monitor an athlete’s progress. If required, modification to training can then be considered.

- Testing, and more specifically test results, can represent a form of extrinsic or intrinsic motivation to the athlete. Irrespective of the source of the motivation, performance goals can be set to provide direction and incentives within a training programme.

- Testing can help determine the phsiological attributes of elite performers and consequently become a predictor of performance potential (DOES NOT predict future champions.)

- Testing can facilitate a player’s education progress by which the player learns to better understand their body and the demands of the sport of tennis.

- Testing may highlight potential health problems that could occur during training that are not detected by standard physical examination.

Tests additionally break up, and add variety to, the training program. They can be used to satisfy the athlete's competitive urge out of competition. In addition, they can be used during an injury rehabilitation program to assess recovery. Since they demand maximum effort of the athlete, they are useful at times as a training unit in their own right.