Sliding in tennis

Importance of sliding in tennis

Sliding in tennis is an essential technique that allows players to effectively cover the court, reaching balls that would otherwise be inaccessible. Learning and mastering this technique not only improves performance on the court, but also contributes to injury prevention by ensuring a smooth and controlled transition in lateral and forward movements. Sliding in tennis is beneficial on clay, as it allows for a longer and more controlled glide.Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

Slide types and their importance

  1. Slides with direction changeEssential for a dynamic game, these slides allow players to quickly change the direction of the game, turning defence into attack. By effectively pivoting the base/support leg and using body weight, players can turn a defensive move into an offensive one, reacting promptly to the opponent's change of pace.
  2. Slides without direction change: Are used to reach long balls and are often used as a basis for learning more complex slides. Although simpler, these slides require solid technique to execute correctly without risking injury.

Key elements in slide execution

  • Weight centre: Keeping it in a low position is important for stability and agility. This not only helps control movement but also minimises the risk of injury by ensuring a controlled glide.
  • Foot positioning: The tip of the gliding foot should face slightly inwards, not perpendicular to the direction of travel, to facilitate an efficient and safe slide.
  • Body technique: A slight tilt of the body in the opposite direction of movement helps to balance forces and optimises momentum, which is essential for the correct execution of slides.

Recommended drills to improve slides

  1. Agility exercises: Using materials in specific exercises involving cones / ladders, allow improvement of coordination and reaction speed. These exercises help to develop the reflexes needed for sliding.
  2. Specific drills: Repetition of sliding movements in different directions, with and without change of direction, to strengthen specific muscles and improve technique.
  3. Slide simulations: Integrating slides into practice/training games to become accustomed to applying techniques in a variety of official playing conditions.

Conclusions

Coaches and players need to pay close attention to sliding technique, making sure it is practiced regularly and correctly to maximize the benefits and reduce the risk of injury. So whether on clay, grass or hard, sliding remains a key component of any tennis player's technical skill set.

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