Bianca Andreescu made Canadian history on Saturday, becoming the first Canadian to win the US Open and the youngest player in the history of the event to take the title. She defeated Serena Williams to take the title. The 19-year-old from Mississauga has made a name for herself in international sports, but on the way to her historic win she got some running advice from University of Toronto track coach Terry Radchenko.
Pure bliss ?
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2019
Radchenko says that Andreescu’s warm up routine is pretty similar to what he has his athletes do. She starts with general mobility and activation before her practices and matches. The tennis player, along with her coach, her physiotherapist and Radchenko watched her do a session to work on some running-specific exercises to improve both her speed and form.
Radchenko had Andreescu do both marching and running A’s ahead of the sprints and wickets. An A march is a slow, exaggerated walk that helps athletes work on mechanics. The focus is to lift your leg to 90 degrees, while bringing your opposite arm into running position and then driving the foot down. It’s intended to mimic running form.
Radchenko then instructed the tennis player to do strides or accelerations, starting slowly and building for several metres. Strides can easily be incorporated into any running plan and only add a few minutes to a routine.
The post-run stride in a marathon plan is done after a longer run where you maintained a similar pace throughout. Find, preferably, a softer surface to do five to six accelerations. These roughly 100m strides, when done a few times a week, will hugely impact your foot speed by the end of a 12- to 16-week build.
Finally, Radchenko had the champion do runs over wickets, which can be seen in Radchenko’s Instagram post. The wickets, or small collapsible hurdles, force a runner to land underneath themselves and encourage quick turnover. Both elements are crucial for quickness on the court or in a race.