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Jumping Rope

Q. It seems that tennis players are jump roping more and more, prior to a match or as part of regular training. Can you talk about the benefits of jump roping as it relates to tennis?

A. Jumping rope offers a number of benefits to a tennis player and we’ll list a couple below:

Jumping rope helps to develop coordination and balance. There is a “window of opportunity” in early childhood to develop athletic skills like agility, balance and coordination, and jumping rope can help players develop these skills.

Jumping rope teaches players to stay on the balls of their feet, as opposed to being flat footed or on their heels, which can help with overall on-court movement.

Jumping rope is a low-level plyometric exercise that can help develop muscular power.

Jumping rope can be done by virtually any player this exercise can serve as the base for higher intensity plyometric exercises. (Note: high intensity exercises should not be done until after a player has been through puberty and has demonstrated he or she has sufficient strength to be able to handle the demands of these exercises.)

Jumping rope can develop cardiovascular endurance and fitness.

Jumping rope can serve as a great general warm-up exercises.

Keep in mind that jumping rope does put stress on the joints and muscles of the lower body. Try to avoid jumping rope on hard surfaces, like concrete or even a hard court, and look for “softer surfaces” like a clay court or grassy area to minimize these impact forces.

As with any exercise, do not try to do too much, too soon. Build into a jump rope program gradually, jumping rope for a short period of time to begin with and building to longer periods and/or more complex jump rope drills. If you experience any pain while jumping rope or after you are done, stop the exercise and be evaluated by a doctor.

Q. What are the benefits of jumping rope as it relates to tennis?

A. Jumping rope can be used by tennis players to achieve a number of effects. First, it is a pretty good general warm-up exercise, elevating body temperature and getting a player ready for tennis.

Second, it is a good low-level plyometric exercise that can help build leg strength and power. As with any exercise, it is possible to overdo a good thing, so be careful not to rush into doing too much jumping rope too soon.

Jumping rope is also an impact “sport” and can cause wear and tear on the legs/ knees and back. When possible, do the jumping rope on a clay court, grass, or another “soft surface” – try to avoid hard courts or concrete. The harder the surface the greater the load the legs and back will experience.

Players with leg or back injuries should also be sure to exercise caution when starting a jump rope program and do not jump rope if it causes pain.

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