Calling all Tennis Players: Is Your Body Ready to Safely Return to Tennis?
Here Are 5 Recommendations To Get Your Body Ready!
The COVID-19 Pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Either we had stopped exercising all together or significantly reduced our activity level, and then unfortunately a good number of us also turned to food as a source of comfort.
As we are starting to re-open our gyms and sporting facilities, I was asked by my sister, who is an avid tennis player, what she and her fellow teammates should be aware of before they start playing tennis again. Here are some of my suggestions that I feel would be helpful to getting back to tennis safely and reduce the risk of injury.
You have waited this long to be given the green light to go out and play again, so please don’t let poor preparation create an injury that could keep you on the sidelines for the rest of the summer!
Here Are 5 Recommendations To
Get Your Body Ready
Endurance and Conditioning:
- If you have not been exercising then start walking.
- Pick a safe location-walk circles around your yard or walk around your neighborhood.
- If you have access to a treadmill that will be fine too.
- If you have not been walking or exercising whatsoever then start with 15-20 minutes a day.
- If you are too sore on the following day after a walk then take that day off.
- Every 5th day add another 5-7 minutes to the grand total.
- If walking is tolerable and you have increased your time without issue, then increase the pace and/or begin a slow run.
- Follow the same protocol for advancing your time for running as well.
Work on your Mobility/Flexibility:
If you have not been swinging a racquet, serving, lunging for that just-out-of-reach ball, or quickly running backwards, then your entire body has settled in to a “new” range of motion that is most likely much smaller than when you were playing. Shoulder, Wrist, Upper Back, Hips, and Ankle mobility can be significantly affected in a very short period of time.
- Take the time now to start a general mobility routine to focus on these regions to help you avoid that muscle pull during your first time out on the court.
- There are numerous options online and provided by local gyms to get you started.
- If you would like guidance on which regions and which stretches your body specifically needs, reach out to make an appointment with me. I will test your mobility and design a program just for you.
- Try to focus on your lats, pecs, and shoulder rotation, as well as your thoracic spine/upper back.
Work on your Core Stability and General Strength:
Tennis, as well as any rotatory sport, requires a coordinated effort of maintaining core stability, while also asking for the power, strength, stability and flexibility of the arms and legs. The quality of how you move, the timing, and your coordination, may have suffered a set-back during your quarantine time.
- Nurture those proprioceptive skills and powerful large-scale movements required for tennis play by adding in a strengthening and stability program.
- Focus on your core region-glutes, abdominals, obliques and back extensor strength.
- Then focus on the stability of your base of support—your balance.
- If you would like guidance on which regions and what strengthening exercises your body specifically needs, reach out to make an appointment with me. I will test your mobility and strength and then design a program just for you.
Review Your Gear:
- Shoes that are worn, racquet grips that have seen better days, and tennis racquets with poor strings, are all sources of wear and tear on your body.
- Start looking at those items now and make sure you address them before you start playing. Research equipment either online or make a list of what you should fix so when the pro-shops are open you can hit the ground running.
Start Eating Better:
- Poor hydration, a high carbohydrate intake and an improper ratio of protein to fats/carbs in your diets can have a detrimental affect on the quality of your muscle, tendons, ligaments and cardiovascular system.
- Start at the very least in cutting back on the quantity of food, increase your water intake, and ensure that every meal, including snacks, have a combination of protein, carbohydrates and a little fat.
If you have any questions or are concerned about getting your body ready for Tennis, you are welcome to directly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me to set up a call at 860-402-7743.