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How Does a Tennis Player NOT get Injured and Know the Difference?

A topic that is probably as old as it is has been asked — for decades and then some more. Then add a little extra. A question that essentially remains the catalyst from my playing days — forever getting injured from my earlier years before my later transition into coaching — how to help tennis players to not get injured, before pushing it a little further — a Masters in this very area before eventually tackling my PhD. In other words, no page was and/or has been left unturned. If there is someone who knows the answer to this in the tennis domain — here I am.

In equal merits, these answers have been pulled across multiple fields as my doctorate was and remains incredibly diverse. Whilst being responsible for uncovering a scientific first and for the tennis player and coach, this was by no means an easy task. After all, the very nature of a doctorate is to fill a void in the literature and to contribute something ‘new’ to our understanding of the world and/or those who live in it. Incredibly broad to accommodate the varying fields, my doctorate was based between not one but two schools — Allied Health (think High Performance, Sports Science, Biomechanics and more; and Education (think Human Behaviour/Psychology, Communication theory, Learning theory and more) — then you’re starting to understand the depth of how far I had to go to really find the answers to this worldwide unknown.

But that’s what 12 x Books and my doctoral thesis have dived into to most recently my new release: How to Develop a Top 10 Tennis Ranking and, Beyond Top 10 Tennis — a Podcast designed to address these very queries including our latest episode that includes both Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

Although that’s not why we’re here. By all accounts, to really understand the nature of this question and its breadth to its corresponding endpoint — a Top 10 tennis ranking to achieving Grand Slam success, that’s where these respective publications come into play. So, eat them up and get started.

For a quick run down on this predominantly unknown, let’s start with the basics: coach education. Unfortunately, how coaches are educated and continue to be educated does not account for this overriding question. Rather, a coach is performance based to optimise a player’s playing capacity in contrast to safeguarding them. This concept of protecting the player is not in the nature of a coaches “learned” pedagogy — rather, their pedagogy is one that is taught through various providers, simply because the essence is in the performance and results in contrast to knowing how a player can reach the pinnacle of play and stay without being derailed. There is a reason why most tennis players that are accepted into a national tennis academy and/or its adjoining federation and its respective pathway — do not achieve a Top 10 tennis ranking let alone Grand Slam success. In Australia nonetheless, this is incredibly rare for good reason. Universally, the odds are not in a player’s favour if they align with such national bodies. 

Why? Because put simply, safeguarding is not the name of the game — results are.

Funding and grants come from noise which is attributed to results that shout — over and over again. But there’s a reason why a tennis player’s body in their adolescent years is able to peak over and over again due to a greater pliability at this age in contrast to the tennis player that matures into a young adult and no longer has this level of elasticity on their side. Sure, there’s much greater ‘give’ for a 20-something in contrast to a 30-something but the damage has been done in these earlier developmental years that often halt a player’s progress towards the Top 100 and ultimately the Top 10 for the simple fact that the technical parameters a player’s game is comprised of are not aligned with the key technical properties attributed to not simply a Top 10 tennis ranking — but longevity at the top.

Put simply, these technical properties remain unknown to 92% of the tennis playing cohort. How do I know this? Revisit the earlier paragraphs. That leaves 8% with this knowledge — but there’s a catch. These percentages are merely representative of the Top 100 on the WTA and ATP tours. This means that these percentages are much MUCH smaller on a global scale. The knowledge of these principles is scarce — minute. How do we overcome this? That’s a good question. A big reason why I put pen to paper in a manner of speaking and have published 11 specific Books in this area — to educate tennis players and coaches on a global scale to have access to what it really takes to develop a Top 10 tennis ranking and to maintain this level of play at the top of the game.

You see, my research was lucky enough at the time to be in sync with the peak performative results of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Interestingly, but by no means surprising, is that Djokovic was the one to trail the initial three at this time — but, if he followed the findings and continued to implement these key properties in his game (which he already was at the time), he would be able to maintain his course and overtake the likes of Federer and Nadal — leading at the time, and eventually, Serena herself. Fast forward a decade and we all know what has transpired.

This is why I love science — the data, the work, the unfolding. It’s super cool. Why some are surprised the by the ailments of Nadal, I am not one of them. The same goes with Federer on his comeback that wasn’t to be and why Serena wasn’t able to regain that peak performance she was so use to recapturing after time away from the training grounds. Djokovic however, that’s another story.

But there’s equal merit in why it has taken so long for new players to rein at the top of the game. From Swiatek to Alcaraz there’s a reason why no other player in the last few seasons has been able to successfully hold their own at the top of the game and overcome their fellow Top 10 with such ease — although Medvedev was there first. Sure, there’s the odd fight here and there but the percentages are in their favour. The same can be said for Sinner and then Sabalenka — although her percentages do fall behind. But that’s no what this is about.

It’s fair to say that in answer to ‘how does a player not get injured and know the difference’ is precisely where the 8 Keys come into play. Don’t know them? Odds are you’ll get injured. Know of them and are actively integrating them into your game? Odds are you’re following The Pathway and embarking on The Long Game towards a Top 10 tennis ranking. Want to know the difference between getting injured and not getting injured? Ask your coach if they’re not simply aware of the 8 Keys (start with the initial 7 Keys), but also for the tennis player — if they’re actively integrating them into your game. The same applies for a Top 10 player to achieve Grand Slam success and a Top 900 player looking to ascend towards the Top 500 inside the next 1-2 seasons or sooner.

But you’re still at the Club and/or Academy level? That’s okay. If you don’t want to get injured, get to know the 7 Keys as your starting point. How do I know the difference? That’s simple. Check with your coach — for the players, if they know the 7 Keys before integrating the 8th Key. And if they don’t? That’s simple, too. Together, actively work on them and integrate them into your game.

Any coach worldwide — yup, that’s a big call, that promises a tennis player ‘Gold’ at the 2024 Olympics to future Grand Slam success and does not have their finger on the pulse with these specific publications available at AM8 International(or Amazon for that matter), is letting you know what you want to hear — without the factual (*scientific*) truth. And trust me, I’ve been in your shoes and was promised the same results. But for that, I’ll leave to another time. Most importantly, because I’ve walked in your shoes — players and coaches alike, I wanted to make the road to the top quite literally possible and within reach for both of you. Not just the player, but the coach, too. Why? Because it truly does take a team and by both player and coach working together with the 7 Keys followed by the 8th Key, that is quite simply how a tennis player does not get injured whilst knowing the difference on their way towards claiming that Top 10 tennis ranking.

To learn more about AM8 International check out our selections of Books to options to join Dr B’s Pack to gain exclusive access to the best in the world. Not quite ready? Head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis for free access to 75+ episodes directly from Dr Berge of what it really takes to win multiple Grand Slams to securing that Top 10 tennis ranking. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.