Endurance Training

The role of aerobic and anaerobic endurance is particularly influential in clay court tennis and yet further pronounced among baseline players and those with energetically complex techniques (i.e. players who play with considerable spin and use aggressive body movement).

Basic Endurance Training

Running is, in relation to cycling and many other sports, clearly preferable for tennis players since the movement technique of running resembles the requirements of tennis play.

However, similar training effects for basic endurance can also be obtained through participation in other sports, as long as large muscle groups are activated, a dynamic motion is ensured and the movement technique is easily mastered.

To improve basic endurance the continuous training method is most beneficial. The continuous training method can be divided into the extensive and the intensive continuous methods. In prescribing training programmes, the extensive continuous method precedes the intensive continuous method, and comprises the largest part of the basic endurance training.

Extensive Continuous Training

  • Recommended training duration amounts to 30-60 minutes (excluding warm-up and cool down).

  • Energy supply is exclusively aerobic.

  • Fat metabolism assumes 40-60% of the energy used.

  • Should be performed three to four times a week within an endurance training block and at least once a week during tournament season.

  • Adaptation effects of the aerobic metabolism system.

    Intensive Continuous Training

  • Typically lasts 20-30 minutes.

  • Should not be carried out more than twice a week as any more would compromise recovery (and the refilling of glycogen stores) and place the player at risk of over-training.

  • Improves the maximum oxygen uptake of the player.

  • Positive effects on the strength of will and the mental endurance of the player.


    Control by Heart Rate
    Heart rate can be easily used as a means of performance analysis and training control. Consequently, many players rely on formulas of the calculation of ideal, age-dependent training pulses.

    Without technical aid, the pulse is directly measured at the carotid artery (neck) or at the radial artery (wrist). The experienced runner can monitor their pulse while running (pulse taken for ten seconds and multiplied by six).

    Otherwise players should measure their pulse as soon as they pause; as having completed the workout one’s heart rate will drop immediately.

    However, the use of a heart rate monitor provides for improved and more comprehensive training control.

    Sensible formulas take age-dependent maximum heart rates into account as well as the individually variable resting heart rates.

    The individual training pulse for a basic endurance session for players should approximate 70% (extensive) and 80% (intensive) of the so called “heart rate reserve” respectively.

    The heart rate reserve is defined as the difference between the resting heart rate and the maximum heart rate (220 minus age in men and 226 minus age women). The result of which is then added to the resting heart rate to attain one’s individual training pulse.

    Tennis-Specific Endurance Training
    Training forms with different objectives are used for the purpose of tennis-specific endurance training on-court.

    Type 1 (emphasises aerobic endurance): Training forms that involve a high density of work and are performed at a sub-maximal intensity that is predominantly in the aerobic range. In these instances the ball is continually played according to a given pattern between training partners (i.e. cross court rallies with a change in direction after each second or third stroke).

    Type 2 (emphasises aerobic/anaerobic endurance): Baseline competitions without service and return. The players must have a rally of three before the point is ‘live’ to ensure a high density of work.

    Type 3 (emphasises anaerobic endurance): Coach-centred drill training with intermittent work (i.e. 6-10 strokes on the run and under time pressure followed by active recovery over 30-45 seconds). This requires that players play common stroke combinations at the level of maximum metabolic matchplay demand. At the same time, tennis-specific speed endurance and will power are developed.