Prevention of overtraining in junior players

I am very surprised that very few parents and coaches conduct constant control of their tennis players’ health condition.

What’s important to understand is that sports medicine possesses a huge deal of knowledge that regular physicians are not aware of.

If junior tennis players train for more than 10 hours a week and participate in tournaments on regular basis, then you are supposed to organize some kind of special medicine control for their health. I’ve rarely witnessed situations where a coach tells his player to get a one-two week break from tennis for active rest or suggest a blood test that shows a player’s condition. Maybe I am wrong and some tennis coaches definitely do that, but in my experience, most ones don’t.

There are some simple methods, such as the Ruffier test, which are easily applied to self-control of the very important system of the body – the cardiovascular system. You may do it on constant basis and use its results to plan training cycles for your kid or as a reason to visit a cardiologist or a sports medicine doctor. There is a fast method for control of the junior tennis player’s condition. It is called the Ruffier index. It analyzes the condition of heart activity during training.  When I was a junior we always used the method for estimating the current physical condition. It shows you how your organism performs with current training. It shows if an organism is overtrained, if there is a necessity for rest and recovery, as well as indicating other problems with the cardiovascular system of a junior sportsman.

All measurements are conducted in 15 seconds intervals.

  1. Sit down and rest for five minutes. Then measure your pulse in 15 seconds.  It is P1.
  2. Do twenty sits-up in 30 seconds and immediately measure your pulse in 15 seconds in standing position. It is P2.
  3. After that, sit down and after one minute rest, measure your pulse in 15 seconds again. It is P3.

Formula for getting the result is: J= (4 x (P1+P2+P3) – 200)/10.

If J is less than 0, present adaptation for your training is excellent,
Less than 3 – very good,
3-5 – good,
6-10 – satisfactory,
11-15 – weak,
15 and more – unsatisfactory. Go to the doctor immediately.
Increase in the value of J shows overtraining conditions. 
Let’s say, if your P1 is 15, P2 is 25 and P3 is 20. For you J is (4 x (15+25+20) – 200)/10 = 4. It means that your current condition is good and your body performs well under your current training program.