Mark Wellington is a Tennis Performance Specialist, which is a subspecialty in the field of athletic performance training. Due to his extraordinary abilities in his field, Mark has qualified to live in the U.S. on a permanent basis.
Mark first came to the U.S. from the U.K. when he was recruited by Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was awarded a full tennis scholarship and was named an ITA Scholar Athlete All-American in 1998.
In his final year at Bethune-Cookman College, Mark served as Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach and was responsible for coaching and conditioning the women’s team. Due to his efforts, the woman’s tennis team earned the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title and competed in the NCAA championship tournament in 2000. The team also ended its season ranked #71—the first team in school history to finish with a national NCAA ranking.
Mr. Wellington’s success as a tennis coach and his strong interest in physical conditioning, led him to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Health and Exercise Science in 2002.
While earning his Master’s degree at Furman University, Mr. Wellington served as Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach from 2000 to 2002. As with his previous position, Mr. Wellington directed coaching and conditioning and achieved noteworthy success. Each year, his teams earned Southern Conference (SC) titles and competed in the NCAA championship tournament. The 2002 team also made it to the second round of the tournament, its best performance ever.
Mark is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and has achieved certification as a “Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist” (CSCS). To be eligible for CSCS certification, a candidate must pass a rigorous exam, must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree, and must demonstrate the ability to design and implement safe and effective strength and conditioning programs.
In 2003, Mark Wellington joined the staff of the prestigious International Performance Institute at the world-renowned Bollettieri Tennis Academy/IMG Academies training facility in Bradenton, Florida. At IPI, Mark worked extensively with a number of professional tennis athletes and elite-level junior athletes, including Maria Sharapova, Xavier Malisse, Max Mirnyi, Tatiana Golovin and Daniela Hantuchova.
In 2004 Mark toured the world with Maria Sharapova and played a key role in elevating her world ranking from #35 to #3. While working with Mark, Maria remained injury free and won Wimbledon as well as the WTA Championship.
Mark left IPI/IMG in 2005 and has been working for himself since then with his athlete clients. He often still uses the IMG facility in Bradenton and also travels with his clients to tournaments around the world.
In the past year, Mark has been working exclusively with Martin Verkerk, a Dutch tennis player who reached the French Open finals in 2003. Martin is a former top 20 player who did not play in 2005 and 2006 due to injury. He decided to make a comeback at the age of 29 and is relying on Mark Wellington to return him to form and help him prevent injury.
Mark has not disappointed. With Mark’s help, Martin has improved his ranking from #670 to #260 and plans to reach the top 100 by February 2009.
Over the years, Mark has worked with athletes from virtually every major sport, but tennis remains his main focus area. When asked about his top piece of fitness advice for tennis athletes, Mark replied that it depends on whether the athlete is at the elite level or a casual player.
For elite athletes, Mark says that the most important factor in physical training and avoiding injury is scheduling. He says that many athletes play too much, which is a big mistake. He points out that Pete Sampras was never ranked #1 as a junior and many #1 ranked junior players never have a professional career, because their bodies do not hold up.
For the casual player, Mark advocates “prehab” training, which involves warming up and focusing on flexibility in areas that take the most wear and tear (shoulders, knees, ankles and lower back). Mark recommends dynamic warm ups and movement around the court and stretching to get the body ready to play. He says that the effects may not be noticeable in the short run, but month to month it will make a big difference in the athlete’s ability to play.
Over the next few months, Mark will continue to work with Martin Verkerk out of his home base in Bradenton, Florida. He may eventually relocate, depending on the demand for his services among top athletes.
Mark Wellington is a key individual helping to make the Sarasota-Bradenton area a major center for sports training. He is one more reason to be proud of our international community.