By Gary Shelly, Polo Club Fitness Trainer
This is a follow up to an article I sent out in March called “Common Injury Patterns”. I received a lot of positive response from that article which prompted me to add to it.
One thing I have noticed after eight years at the Polo Tennis Club is the amount of injuries tennis players have (especially adults.) Honestly, this both concerns me and motivates me. One of my favorite gym quotes is “get in shape to play tennis, don’t play tennis to get in shape”. Yes, I realize preparing your body to play a fun sport may not be as fun as playing it, but it is important.
What happens if you don’t? You risk getting injured; no mystery there! If you take an unconditioned body, put it on a court, start sprinting, starting, stopping, changing directions, and repetitively hit a ball over and over, then something is going to give. This is a lot of strain on your body. Some will get lucky, but most will incur some sort of injury. Then you’re faced with not playing, or playing through pain….no fun! The muscles around the joints must be strong and flexible in order to handle the impact and stress of hitting the ball, and the repetitive movements in tennis.
This can be avoided by:
Starting a fitness program; a plan that focuses on stabilizing the joints, correcting imbalances, and improving core strength and flexibility
Warming up; jogging, jumping jacks, treadmill, bike, shuffles, arm circles
Foam rolling and dynamic stretching (movement)
If you are a beginning player or an experienced player with joint issues, talk to your coach, myself or Dr. Whipple, as well as Terra and Keri. We a have great team of professionals here with extensive experience that can help prevent and treat most common tennis injuries.
With the proper assessment, we can determine what muscles and joints are weak, as well as guide any postural distortion patterns. From here, a corrective exercise program can be designed.