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Friday, February 24, 2017

French Stars Monfils, Tsonga Reach Marseille QFs

Straight-set wins for French pair
ATP Staff

The top two seeds Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga pleased the French crowd on Thursday evening at the Open 13 Marseille as they both advanced to the quarter-finals with straight-sets wins.


Monfils needed just 57 minutes to dismiss qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-1, 6-4. The right-hander dropped just eight points on serve as he set a quarter-final clash with countryman Richard Gasquet. The pair have met 12 times, with Monfils leading their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 7-5.
The 30-year-old Monfils is returning to action this week for the first time since his fourth-round showing at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal). The Frenchman, who qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time last year, is looking to go one better than his run in Marseille in 2015, when he finished runner-up to Gilles Simon.
Second seed Tsonga was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Illya Marchenko, saving all six break points the Ukrainian created to advance in 81 minutes.
Tsonga goes on to face 2015 champion Simon as he bids to win his second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks. The Frenchman is coming off his first title in 17 months after lifting the trophy in Rotterdam last week (d. Goffin).
The 31-year-old Tsonga is a two-time former champion in Marseille, hoisting the trophy in 2009 (d. Llodra) and 2013 (d. Berdych), while also finishing runner-up in 2014 (l. to Gulbis). 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ernests Gulbis Forehand- Is it really that different??

Gulbis

Ernests Gulbis Forehand- Is it really that different??

By Jawad Bisharat

Berdych
Every time I watch Ernest Gulbis on televison I repeatidly hear the commentators discussing how akward Ernests Gulbis's forehand is. One commentator went as far as saying "Dad paid a lot of money for that forehand". 

So I wanted to break down Gulbis's forehand for myself and see if it was really that different. After all he is ranked #13 in the world, how bad could it be right? 

The reality is it is not bad at all. You will see by the pictures of Berdych, Murray, and Djokovic that Gulbis's forehand is very similiar and in someways better. That said, Ernest has been working with Larry Spefanki in Rancho Santa Fe, Ca to make his forhard more traditional. I saw a preview of his new forehand when he played for the San Diego Aviator's in the summer of last year. The main advantage of this new stroke is time. He has shortened his swing allowing his to prepare for on coming shots quicker. However, see below how the stroke was really not much different. 

Djokovic
Notice the similarity in the right arm of every player when preparing to hit the ball. Lets call this part 1. In part 1 all four players have their right arm nearly straight out towards the back fence and the face of the racket parrerel with the groud. If I were to cover the faces of the players and showed you only part 1 of the take back you would not be able to determine who is who. Yes, I know Novak plays with Head and Gulbis Wilson but you get my point. 

The commentators are either looking for something to talk about or mearly focusing on Gulbis's left arm which he extends out towards the ball. They described Gulbis's preperation as " He looks like he is stopping traffic". 
Murray

Yes, this is not how the forehand is traditionally tought and looks akward at first glance. Players are tought to bring their left arm further across their body and more parrerel with the baseline to create shoulder turn and body preperation. However, I would argue that Gulbis creates the same amount of shoulder rotation as any of the examples shown. 
Figure 1

See figure 1. If you were to draw a line from the tip of Gulbis's racket straight across his shoulders it would be nearly identical to Murray's eventhough Murray brings his left arm across his entire body. He is the opposite extreme as most players keep it at 90 degrees from their shoulder. 

 Now that I have shown how Gulbis's preperation is not far off convential and more popular forehands lets focus on point of contact. Thats what really matters right??

At contact all players have moved into the same and most common position to strike the ball. 

The elbow bends and slides along the right hip. The player also allows the racket head to drop below their hand. This is important, as they do not drop their hand much lower then the height of the ball. With the racket head dropped they move their hand across the same plane as the ball giving them penetration and spin. 


Of coarse different situations will call for the stroke to be adjusted but in this illustration I clearly show that Gulbis's forehand is very similiar to those of the world's top players. It's not necessarily how you start the stroke but more importantly how you finish it. 






I am reposting this article because I know we all need reminders sometimes. Interval training for tennis is essential due to the burst of energy we use during points. Adapting our body to stop and go will increase our on court stamina. 

When I run across a good article that will help your wellness and your tennis game I like to share it with my readers. I have been interval training for many years and I can say with confidence that nothing compares to the results you can achieve applying these principles to your workout. 

Jawad Bisharat

How to Get Fit in a Few Minutes a Week

High-intensity interval training, a type of workout that consists of very brief bouts of very strenuous exercise, has become enormously popular in recent years. A main reason is that although such workouts are draining, they can be both very effective and very short, often lasting only a few minutes.
But people take notably different approaches to this form of exercise. Some complete only one sustained, all-out, four- or five- minute bike ride or sprint — a single interval — and then are done. Others practice standard interval training, involving repeated brief bursts of almost unbearably taxing exertion, interspersed with restful minutes of gentler exercise. Some people perform such sessions two or three times per week; others almost every day.
The science of intensive interval training has, though, been lagging behind the workout’s popularity. Past studies of HIIT, as the practice is commonly known, had established that as measured by changes in cellular markers, standard short-burst HIIT training may improve aerobic fitness up to 10 times as much as moderate endurance training. But scientists had not determined whether a single sustained interval likewise improves fitness, or the ideal number of HIIT sessions per week.
So to clarify those issues, researchers at two of the laboratories most noted for HIIT science set out to learn more about the best way to do interval training.
First, for a study published this month in Experimental Physiology, scientists at McMaster University in Ontario gathered 17 healthy young men and women and divided them into groups. Ten of them were asked to exercise on two separate days. On one day they completed a standard HIIT session consisting of four 30-second bouts of all-out, tongue-lolling effort on a stationary bicycle, alternating with four minutes of recovery between. On another day they completed a single uninterrupted interval lasting for about four minutes, by which time each rider had combusted the same amount of energy as during the stop-and-go session. Before and after the workouts, the scientists gathered blood and muscle samples.
Separately, the remaining seven volunteers did the continuous four-minute workout three times a week for six weeks. The researchers again collected blood and muscle samples, and monitored changes in the riders’ athletic performance by having them ride as hard as possible for a specified period of time.
When collated and compared, the data showed that the physiological differences among the two groups of riders were notable and, in some ways, strange.
On the one hand, the scientists found no significant variations in how the muscles of riders in the first group responded to a single session of interval training, whether of the standard stop-and-go variety or a sole sustained effort. In both cases, the riders showed immediate, post-exercise increases in their blood levels of certain proteins associated with eventual improvements in endurance capacity.
But when the researchers checked blood and muscle tissue in the second group of riders after they had completed six weeks of single-interval training, some of the pending improvements seemed to have evaporated. These riders’ muscle tissues now had only average — not augmented — amounts of the chemicals that help cells to produce more energy, a reliable marker of fitness. This finding was in stark contrast to the results of earlier work by the same researchers, in which they found that six weeks of standard short-burst HIIT exercise resulted in significant, sustained gains in these markers.
The implications of the new study are not altogether clear, said Martin Gibala, the chairman of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University and senior author of the study, but “it would appear,” he said, “that there is something important, even essential, about the pulsative nature” of on-off HIIT training if you wish to reap sustained physiological improvements.
In more practical terms, before you riff on your current workout, check to see whether reliable science supports your improvisation.
That caution is underscored by the results of the other major new study of interval training, this one published this month in PLOS One and undertaken at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. In it, scientists asked volunteers to perform a total of 24 standard HIIT sessions over either three or eight weeks, meaning that the volunteers exercised either three times per week or almost every day and sometimes twice on the same day.
At the end of the prescribed time, those who had completed three HIIT sessions per week had improved their endurance capacity by almost 11 percent. But those exercising daily displayed no such improvements and, in some, endurance declined. Only after those volunteers had quit training altogether did their aerobic capacity creep upward; after 12 days of rest, their endurance peaked at about 6 percent above what it had been at the start, suggesting, the researchers believe, that daily high-intensity interval sessions are too frequent and exhausting. In that situation, fatigue blunts physical adaptations.
The takeaway of both studies is that it is best, if you wish to perform high-intensity interval training, to stick to what is well documented as effective: a few sessions per week of 30- or 60-second intervals so strenuous you moan, followed by a minute or so of blessed recovery, and a painful repetition or four. Done correctly, such sessions, in my experience, get you out of the gym quickly and inspire truly inventive cursing.