New York Tennis Magazine July - August 2018

Page 38

How Many Hours a Week Should By Gilad Bloom any of the students I teach ask me how many hours a week they should train in order to reach the college level. The answer is … not that many. It’s the quality and the effort that counts. Anywhere between three to six times a week is a good start, no more than two hours per day, either in a group or private lesson. If you practice about 10-12 hours per week in total, that would still leave you ample time to work on academics and have a normal childhood. I’m not a big believer in sending a child from their home environment to an “academy,” playing tennis all day and living in a dorm away from their parents. I believe that collegiate level tennis can be achieved while staying home and attending a regular school. Having said that, I would also like to add that if you are looking to reach the professional level, I would strongly suggest home schooling as an option and to take a much heavier load of sessions. But to reach the collegiate level, even Division 1, a few things need to happen …


1. Great practice habits This could be the most important aspect of a tennis player and something that every college coach appreciates. With good practice habits, you don’t have to train that long, and as long as the intensity is there, two hours of practice per day is plenty. Just make sure that you don’t take too many breaks (and if you do, make them short). Also, run down every ball without exception. I learned that from the top players in the world from my era. They were all animals on the practice court. In my opinion, when you spend five to six hours a day on the court, the level of concentration and quality declines, especially the intensity. It’s better to go all out for two hours and go home. 2. An extensive fitness program This program should include one to two hours per week with a trainer, and another two or three times when you exercise on your own. Physical fitness was always an important aspect of the game, but in the past, you could get away with not being fit. Today, everyone is in shape … it’s a must. Proper stretching is essential as are regular visits to the trainer for physical sessions in order to stay injury-free. 3. Play another sport (preferably a team sport) This current generation is not at all a “Ball Handling Generation,” unless it’s a video game. Tennis is a one-sided, asymmetrical sport that can cause an imbalance in the body (especially the back). Playing other sports will help balance the body, prevent injuries and improve coordination. Playing a team sport is a nice relief for a tennis player who is used to being on their own all the time. Sure, we all love the individuality of the sport of tennis, but it’s nice to be with the boys/girls out there on the field and develop the ability to win and lose as a team. 4. Find an outside hobby A musical instrument as an outside interest off the court is highly recom-