Youth Tennis Progression: How to Become a Top Junior Tennis Player

Varying Levels of Youth Tennis Players Progressing your child’s tennis game can be a daunting task. Elite Sports Clubs, through its 26 years leading Wisconsin junior players to the top, has a suggested progression for your child. We provide two paths, one for the 10 and under tennis player and another for the 11 and over tennis player. Each path offers 9-10 steps with the ultimate goal of collegiate tennis. Most junior tennis players do not exceed step 4. These steps should be guidelines as each child is unique and you should consult their tennis professional for more personalized advice.

Ages 3-10: The path to becoming a top junior tennis player

Step 1 Attend a group tennis lesson once per week.
Step 2 Add an occasional Elite QuickStart Tournament or play with your child. For ages 7 and older, your child may attend a Junior Tennis Party.
Step 3 Attend two tennis lessons per week. Add either a group, private or semi-private lesson.
Step 4 Increase frequency of your Elite QuickStart Tournaments or playing with your child.
Suggestion: QuickStart Tournament at another Elite Sports Club, or challenge ladder.
Step 5 Attend three tennis lessons per week. Add either a group, private or semi-private lesson.
Note: You may want to consult your tennis professional about an invitational tennis class at step 5.
Step 6 Attend more advanced Elite tennis events.
Suggestion: Non-Ranked Rookie Tournaments.
Step 7 Get your child a 10 and Under USTA (United States Tennis Association) membership. Ask an Elite Tennis Professional for details.
Step 8 Start playing 10 and Under USTA Tournaments. This may be an overwhelming experience. Use Elite’s Tennis Professionals to assist you.
Step 9 Receive an invitation from the USTA Competitive Training Center when your child receives a top Wisconsin state ranking.
Note: The next progression is post QuickStart level.

Ages 9-18: The path to becoming a top junior tennis player

Step 1 Attend a group tennis lesson once per week.
Step 2 Add an occasional special Elite junior tennis event or play with your child. Elite recommends your child participate in a Junior Tennis Party.
Step 3 Attend two tennis lessons per week. Add either a group, private or semi-private lesson.
Step 4 Increase frequency of your special Elite junior tennis events and/or playing with your child.
Suggestions: Doubles Tournament at ME or NS, Challenge Ladder at ME or WB, or Non-Ranked Rookie Tournament.
Step 5 Attend three tennis lessons per week. (Add either a group, private or semi-private lesson.)
Note: You may want to consult your tennis professional about an invitational class at this point.
Step 6 Get an USTA (United States Tennis Association) membership. Ask an Elite Tennis Professional for details.
Step 7 Start playing in USTA Tournaments. Discuss with a tennis pro which tournaments your child should play.
Step 8 Tennis specific conditioning to increase strength, on court quickness, and injury prevention. Step 8 can be introduced at any level of tennis player.
Step 9 Play tennis four times per week.
Step 10 Receive an invitation from the USTA Competitive Training Center when your child receives a top Wisconsin state ranking.
NOTE: The next progression is Midwest, National USTA tournaments, playing 5 days a week.

Ready to get your child started in youth tennis or would like more advice on the steps to take? Please out this form and you will be contacted by one of Elite Sports Clubs experienced tennis professionals.

Elite Sports Clubs also offers year-round youth tennis lessons. We have the largest junior tennis program in the state of Wisconsin. Register for youth tennis lessons at Elite Sports Clubs.

You can also check out our racquet sports calendar to view all tennis-related programs and events.

Did you play tennis as a child? What do you think most benefited you then (and now) in improving your game?

Benefits of the Gravity Training System

The Gravity Training System (GTS) is used in clubs throughout the world to teach a series of high intensity muscular endurance exercises while providing a time efficient full body workout. For those of you who are not familiar with GTS, it is very similar to the Total Gym used by Chuck Norris that can be seen on television. Gravity is divided into group training sessions and private training sessions at health clubs in order to provide a variety of workouts for members. GTS uses your body weight on a glideboard with an adjustable incline, while incorporating a dynamic pulley system to perform strength training exercises.

Often, people will complain that there is not enough time to get in a full body workout, however the primary advantage of using GTS is time efficiency. Most Gravity training sessions vary from 30-minute to 45-minute strength training sessions. You might be asking yourself how can you get a full body strength training workout in 30 minutes? When training on the GTS in a class format or in personal training, a sequence of exercises can be performed without even getting up off of the machine. In each selected body position on the glideboard multiple exercises can be executed to utilize time in an effective manner. The GTS workouts also minimize transitions in order to do as many exercises in each body position as possible. The GTS muscle sequences are put into an order that maximizes performance for efficiency and recovery while providing an intense endurance workout.

Gravity sessions are taught by certified personal trainers that have been certified through EFI Sports Medicine on how to use GTS and teach training sessions. Getting the guidance of a personal trainer while exercising will provide a more specific workout based on each individuals’ needs and exercise goals while eliminating the stress of figuring out what exercises to perform. You will not have to figure out how many sets, repetitions, or how long to perform each exercise.

The design of GTS is a benefit in itself. By performing exercises at an incline clients do not have to bear their entire weight load. This will minimize stress on the joints especially for clients who are beginners, overweight, or who have had injury issues. For example, if someone is at level 6 (or 21 degrees) on the glideboard and weighs 200 lbs, that individual is only moving 40% of their body weight or 81 lbs. If the exercise were to be done using the pulleys it would cut the resistance in half.

By employing the use of the free motion pulley/cable system on the GTS, individuals are able to do over 150 different exercises with variations. The pulley systems offer a free range of motion during upper body exercises, which helps you move beyond a fixed range of motion. The pulley system will improve overall strength through multiple ranges of motion. For example, I have personally worked with individuals who have had limited range of motion in the shoulder joint capsule who now have full range of motion.

The Gravity Training System has many strength training advantages. The GTS works all of the major muscles in the body while minimizing the time in the process. Formats for the training sessions last 30-45 minutes while transitioning from one exercise to the next with minimal interruptions. By not resting between exercises little to no time is wasted and the heart rate of clients stays at a high level, burning more total calories while also improving cardiovascular fitness. Working with a personal trainer on the GTS or using the Total Gym at home is a very time efficient and fun way to workout.

Are you interested in a Gravity group training session? Check out our fitness calendar for current small group training options. And as mentioned above, Elite Sports Clubs always offers personal training or semi-private training on the GTS machines. Please fill out this form to receive more information on the Gravity Training System.

Have you ever tried using a Gravity machine or the Total Gym? What did you like about it? Is there anything you didn’t like about it? Tell us in the comments!

Ray Hirn, BS
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Elite Sports Club-Brookfield
rayhirn@eliteclubs.com

Why the Word Diet is Often Seen in a Negative Way

By Rita Larsen, Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor Diet Vegetable Word

As early as the 1920’s, the American Academy of Nutrition began to speak about the changes you made in the foods that you ate, as your “diet.” That is; any change that you made to improve health or for the better was a good diet. Today, in a more popular way, we can often be seen discussing new and different diets and how they can help us achieve our personal goals, quickly. Some are healthy, some are not so healthy. It is possible that the only thing that makes the word diet seem negative, is how we treat a normally sound principle, like eating right. So, what are some of the things we do that will make diet a difficult process? After all, we are just trying to eat healthy and lose some weight, right? For example,

  • Many people feel they would like to fast for a day? That cleansing in this way with only liquids is a good plan. I have never worried about this too much because people do end up hungry. And, it may help to reduce body stores of calories, if you do not overeat the day after.
  • Some feel that waiting all day until they eat a meal will help them avoid kicking off some response to overwhelming hunger. As, “the longer I wait, the better it is.” You run a risk of becoming very hungry and overeating by the end of the day. After all, you did not eat ALL day.
  • Yet others feel that perhaps, they can avoid eating entire groups of foods; like carbohydrates or fats, to keep their unwanted pounds away. Science works fine on these concepts until we completely eliminate whole food groups. It does not work well and you may miss important nutrients.
  • Lastly, many feel that if they really bare down during the week, they can have a little extra on the weekend. Sorry to say, but it does not take much added food on the weekends to cause a plateau.

What is wrong here is the manipulation of the schedules, the timing, the food choices or lack thereof, that can make you feel tired and worn out as a result of doing any of these choices.

Your body wants to cooperate with anything you do! It “records” what you did yesterday, and tries to repeat it. But along the way, your metabolic rate is going to need to readjust downward to what you are doing, and what you thought you were trying to do, just became worse. Eat responsibly throughout the day, give your body fuel to work on, don’t store too much for another day, and feel proud that you have eaten what your body needs to go another mile!

Want more advice on dieting in it’s true form? Let us know, by filling out this form and telling us a little more about you and your goals!

What does the word “diet” mean to you? Tell us in the comments!

Are you Staying Properly Hydrated During Exercise?

Many exercisers know that they should stay hydrated when exercising, but three questions often asked are how much, when, and what? This article is meant to inform the reader of the current recommendations that address these very questions. In answer to the first two questions, here are some general guidelines to follow about fluid replacement from The American College of Sports Medicine and other such societies:

Before Exercise:

  • Consume about 15-20 fl. oz. of water, 2 to 3 hours before exercise (to allow for absorption)
  • Drink 8-10 fl. oz. of water 10-15 minutes before exercise (to ensure that you begin exercise in fluid balance)

During Exercise:

  • Consume between 8 and 10 fl. oz. every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise
  • If exercising longer than 60 minutes, drink 8-10 fl. oz. of a sports drink (with 6-8% carbohydrate) every 15 – 30 minutes.

After Exercise:

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise.
  • For every 1lb lost, replace with 20-24 fl. oz. of water.

Water and Sports Drinks Photo

In answer to the third question, it can be both a sports drink and water. And this, of course, depends on the situation. If you are an athlete or individual who works out intensely for 60 minutes or more, then a sports drink with at least 6-8% carbohydrate, like Gatorade, can be beneficial to replenish lost fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. It also can help improve performance during these longer bouts of intense exercise. For the average population however, a sports drink is not necessary because the stores of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates in one’s body are usually not completely spent during a standard workout. Therefore, consuming water before, during, and after exercise is all the average person needs to keep their body hydrated. For the athlete or avid exerciser, a sports drink to stay hydrated would be beneficial for intense exercise events lasting longer than an hour, as stated previously, but up to that point is not really necessary.

If you’d like more advice on exercise hydration and nutrition, let us know! We’re here to help!

What are your favorite ways to stay hydrated? Do you have a preferred sports drink or do you just stick with water?

Exercises to Build Rotational Strength & Stability

By Jordan Meyer, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-North Shore

The professional baseball season is in full swing (bad pun!), and that signals the start of youth & bar leagues. Baseball involves a lot of rotational movements, especially through the trunk (from your shoulders to your hips). The exercises below are good for building rotational strength and stability. Do them slowly and deliberately to avoid injury. Remember: if you or your child have been hibernating for the last few months, it’s best to start light until your body remembers what exercise feels like.

Note: These exercises are also good for you golfers out there.

Alternating lunges with a trunk twist exercise:

Cable twist exercise:

Remember to keep your core tight for both of these exercises. The old adage “practice like you play” doesn’t apply here, so go slowly with the rotations. We know you aren’t going to swing a bat or golf club slowly, but rotating slowly is going to build the strength you need to swing quickly.

“Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.”
-Earl of Derby

Need a little further instruction on these exercises or what else to do to train for a sport (or recover from a sports injury) let us know, we’re here to help!

What exercises do you like to do to prep for baseball, softball, golf, or any other seasonal sport?