A break on the beach may sound the perfect getaway for most. But for Somdev Devvarman it was all about sweating away the stress of the hard courts and fine-tuning his fitness for the US Open.
The 26-year-old had an intense sand training session with trainer Milos Galecic in Charlottesville, Virginia last week. “It was basically designed to give the body and joints a break and also to add a little variety to my training,” said Somdev, who took a two-week break ahead of the Open. While the seven months are already tough on the body, the US Open hardcourt series takes a further toll.
“Any time we have time off we work on fitness, especially going into Slams or Davis Cup where they have to play a best of five sets,” says his trainer Galecic. “Every sand training session is designed with certain goals in mind, varying in intensity, duration and depending on the time of the tennis season.”
“It (sand) is an unstable surface forcing the body to maintain balance and stabilise itself. It helps develop power in the lower body, which absorbs a lot of impact reducing the stress on joints. It also adds to the variety and keeps training interesting and challenging.”
For tennis players, a sand training drill is a quick fix to improve strength and agility, and also better foot speed on the court. Though Galecic says that cardio-training wasn’t the focus of the session, running on the soft yielding surface not only strengthens the ankles and calves, but also makes sprinting on the even hard courts a lot easier.
Fitness and injury management are at the heart of athletic success and a short burst of sand training workout provides a much-needed change from the sports drills and gym routines.