Prepare for the Court

By: David Howatson-Begg

Congratulations to the 2016 US Open winners, Stan Wawrinka and Angelique Kerber. The US Open is one of the most eagerly anticipated and highly prestigious sporting events in the sporting calendar. All across the world, children and adults alike are inspired to dust off their tennis rackets, soak up a little sun, and take the first steps on the path to becoming the next Williams, Federer or Murray. Here at Power Plate® we want to preserve that enthusiastic momentum all year round. Hence, we devised some pre-game programming to help you prepare to play at your best.

Over the last decade we've seen the likes of Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal use Power Plate as an integral part of their tournament preparation and training. In order to train like the professionals, all you'll need for this program is a Power Plate, your racket (of course) and the cherry on top; our functional compass mat. Using the compass mat gives you an added guide through three-dimensional movement, as the floor provides a visual reference point whist working through the program. If your facility or club doesn't currently have a compass mat, let us know and we are happy to support you. Coloured cones, tape on the floor, and your imagination are the next best thing to get the functional juices flowing!

With racket in hand, the preparatory exercises will guide you through the process, both on Power Plate and on the floor based compass mat, with a sport specific function in mind. Replicating essential positions for shots, such as a serve, forehand or backhand, allow the participant to move as authentically as possible. Combining flexibility based motions for the foot, ankle, hip, shoulders, and thoracic spine, with the forehand and backhand on Power Plate, frees the body for the more dynamic motion using steps, lunges and 'jops' on the compass. For your information and pleasure, a 'jop' is a combination of a jump and a hop: springing from two feet, landing on one foot then jumping back to the start to land on two feet. Sounds like fun, right? You can't have FUNction without having FUN!

The enhanced mobility gained from the stimulus of vibration combined with the angulations of the compass mat, allows for more expansive and variable movement. Testing the landing mechanics involved in jumping, hopping or "jopping" is the final integral piece of the puzzle. The video attached was created by Steve Powell, UK Director of Education, and my good self, to bring racket sport programming with Power Plate to life. We hope you'll use it before you next swing a racket, and that it aids your first shot towards victory.

By David Howatson, Performance Health Systems UK Master Trainer