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Vasek Jursík’s Coaching Journey with Britain’s No. 1, Cam Norrie; Hard Work, Simplicity, and BFR

The 2024 tennis calendar has kicked off with British No. 1 Cam Norrie narrowly missing out on making the quarterfinals in the Australian Open, alongside compatriot Neal Skupski making the mixed doubles final. Tennis, known for its highs and lows, requires athletes to push their limits. Behind every player's success, their coaching teams play a crucial role. We met with Vasek Jursík, Cam Norrie’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, to get the inside track on his coaching style where simplicity and hard work take centre court.

Cam Norrie celebrating a win with arms in the air as a crowd cheers in the background

Born in the Czech Republic, Vasek embarked on his sporting journey in rugby, turning professional in his homeland before venturing to France and New Zealand to pursue his passion of the 15-man game. When playing was no longer feasible, Vasek took a role at Mouratoglou Academy in 2016, marking the beginning of his transition into the realm of tennis.  

Transitioning into a new sport meant a steep learning curve for Vasek. “I started by working with younger players, constantly absorbing knowledge,” he shares. “Eventually, I graduated to coaching professionals and seized the opportunity to work with Thanasi Kokkinakis.” 

Whilst coaching Kokkinakis, Vasek travelled more extensively, and his path crossed with Cam Norrie. It was there that Vasek learned about an upcoming Strength and Conditioning role, which piqued his interest. “I’ve always admired Cameron’s work ethic and professionalism,” he recalls. “So, I applied for the position and secured it.” 

 

Cam Norrie coaching team including Vasek Jursik on right

From left to right, Julian Romero, Facundo Lugones, Cameron Norrie, Vasek Jursik. Source: atptour.com.

 

The collaboration between Vasek and Cam has yielded remarkable results, with Cam solidifying his position as the British No. 1 in men’s singles since 2021. Drawing from his own athletic background, Vasek leverages his experiences to optimise Cam’s performance. “I’ve always emphasised the importance of dedication and hard work,” he explains. “Being talented is one thing, but without relentless effort, you will not go far. Cameron embodies this philosophy perfectly. His achievements are a testament to his unwavering commitment and ongoing hard work.” 

“Looking back to a few years ago, Cameron wasn’t viewed as a potential Masters winner, but because he has learned to keep going, doing the hard work, even when you don’t get the result you want, he is seeing the results.”

Vasek underscores the significance of smart, strategic training, pushing Cam to operate at the peak of his potential. “Cam thrives in the ‘red zone,'” Vasek notes. “Cam embraces the challenges of competition and enjoys being in that ‘red zone’ when playing an opponent, because he knows that if he is suffering the other guy is more so.” 

 

Working at those limits takes a toll on the body and therefore recovery, like in many sports, is critical to the career of a tennis player. With back-to-back competitions, often with long games that can stretch into the night, tennis has high demands and therefore a high requirement to be able to recover effectively and efficiently, something BFR excels at. 

With limited experience of using BFR for rehab when working at the Academy, Vasek really began exploring its benefits after being introduced to Hytro. Dr Warren Bradley, Founder of Hytro, met with Vasek to discuss how Hytro could enhance Cam’s recovery and performance: “When I spoke with Vasek, I understood that recovery is crucial for a tennis player therefore we discussed how Hytro could maximise their efficiency in this area, as well as support with preparation ahead of competition.” 

 

Vasek Jursik coaching Cam Norrie, stood next to him as he performs split squat with weight wearing Hytro BFR Performance Shorts in gym setting

 

As Cam was facing a potential three-month rest due to issues with his knees, caused by patellar tendinopathy, Vasek relays: “We were looking for something to help, as taking a break wasn’t an option, and when Hytro was introduced to us we started using it straight away. Cam has real trust in his team so is always happy to take our guidance and started working with the shorts the day after we received them.” 

Cam was using air compression via Normatec. Vasek confirmed that one of the many benefits of the Hytro BFR wearables is their portability: “Instead of a large piece of kit, you can pack two or three pairs of the Hytro shorts in your bag.” With previous personal experience of using Normatec, Vasek compared it with Hytro: “Normatec provides a progressive tension relief, whereas when I am using Hytro passively, whilst watching TV, I get that instant unbelievable feeling. It’s strong whereas the Normatec slowly builds. With Hytro you are pumped to do the second set!” 

 

The limited facilities, lack of accessibility to equipment, and relatively small, shared spaces at events adds an extra dimension to the challenge of preparation and recovery for coaches and athletes. Dr Warren Bradley witnessed this first hand at Wimbledon last year, noting “These challenges drive coaches to explore innovative strategies to maximise recovery on the go. We are seeing a rise in the adoption of Hytro BFR in tennis due to the simplicity and portability of the wearables meaning the performance and recovery benefits can be reaped anywhere and at any time.” 

 

As for all coaches, as a Strength and Conditioning Coach it’s important to stay abreast of the latest advancements. Vasek continues his own development and discusses all new Strength and Conditioning approaches with Julian Romero, Cam’s Physiotherapist, and the whole team. He stated: “Julian focuses on simplicity, and I agree. It is about doing the simple things well, making sure that the player is good at the basics. For me I still look at the All Blacks, they keep things simple because simple works.” 

Hytro BFR is a versatile, simple, and safe multitool that enables athletes to access the benefits of BFR without supervision, and whilst on the move. This is why it has been adopted by elite athletes across a range of sports to maximise their preparation, training, and recovery.  

Vasek confirms that Cam has been utisiling Hytro straight after a match: “For us, when we finish a game at 4am in the morning, we know recovery is so important so refuelling and sleeping is a priority. So instead of staying at a facility to do massage or other things, Hytro can be put on straight away. Even if you need to do an interview straight after the match, you can pull the shorts on and carry out Passive Recovery at the same time.” 

 

Cam Norrie performing split squat with weight whilst wearing Hytro BFR Performance Shorts in gym setting

 

In addition to using BFR, Vasek is exploring Isometric Training in combination with BFR to aid Cam’s approach to his knee complaint. He shared: “Isometric Training can work well in a tennis setup because it’s not time consuming and you have almost no residual fatigue. I’m attending a Sportsmith event in March with expert Alex Natara to extend my knowledge.” 

Sharing of best practice and learning from others to continually explore new horizons has led Vasek to hold regular brainstorming sessions with Chris McLeod, the former Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Lawn Tennis Association. “We agreed to talk together once every two or three months. He’s a great guy and has helped me a lot. 

Vasek’s dedication and expertise have played a pivotal role in Cam’s success, exemplified by his remarkable performance at the Australian Open. By prioritising simplicity and efficacy, while embracing innovation, Vasek ensures that Cam receives the optimal support to excel on the court. 

 

As the year unfolds, the duo, along with the coaching team, eagerly anticipates further triumphs. Shop Hytro’s BFR wearables now or to hear more about introducing BFR into your training and recovery then speak to the Hytro Team here. 

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