Tennis is a very physically demanding sport, and while it carries a lower risk of injury compared to other sports, it can still take a toll on your body through various overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis, muscle strains, and stress fractures. If you’re an avid tennis player, you have to be mindful of tennis injury prevention techniques in order to stay healthy and continue enjoying the sport you love. Below are some tips that will show you how to prevent tennis injuries, as well as how to know when it’s time to treat them.
1. Learn and Practice Proper Form and Technique
Roughly two-thirds of all tennis injuries are a result of overuse, and the main culprit behind most overuse injuries is a lack of proper form and technique. Factors such as incorrect grip, improper swinging motion and inaccurate timing or coordination of strokes can contribute to repetitive strain and overuse injuries over time. Be sure to practice proper technique in your serving and ground strokes, and if need be, consult with a qualified tennis instructor who can help you learn correct swing mechanics.
2. Add Strength Training to Your Tennis Training Regimen
Weak or underdeveloped muscles are more prone to injury. If you incorporate weightlifting into your tennis training regimen, you’ll build and develop the muscle groups responsible for executing the various movements that are common to tennis. Focus on training key muscles such as the shoulders, forearms, and upper back; by doing so, they’ll become more resistant to injury. In addition, strength training will add more power to your strokes, as strong muscles are able to generate more force.
3. Warm Up and Stretch!
It’s quite easy for cold muscles to be strained or pulled, so be sure to warm up and stretch properly before your tennis matches and practice sessions. Not only will stretching and warming up reduce your risk of injury, but they’ll also enhance your on-court performance as well by increasing your joint range of motion and improving the elasticity of your ligaments and tendons.
4. Get Adequate Rest
It can be easy to forget to rest when you’re on a roll, but you have to intentionally take some time off between matches and training sessions in order to give your body time to recuperate. Overexertion is a very common source of injuries, so play it smart by getting adequate rest.
5. Stay Hydrated
You’d be surprised at the number of tennis players who experience all kinds of physical ailments due to dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your matches in order to stay hydrated.
How to Know When It’s Time to Treat Your Injuries
Some injuries are barely more than a nagging pain, while others are a full-blown hindrance to your freedom of movement. When dealing with an injury, it can be tempting to just play through the pain, but this may not be the wisest thing to do; in fact, sometimes it can aggravate the injury and make it worse.
If you’re experiencing excessive swelling or bruising, or if moving a certain way produces sharp or debilitating pain, it’s a good idea to consult with a medical professional in order to pinpoint the injury and receive proper treatment. Once you’ve been treated for your injury, be sure to get advice on proper taping and/or bracing techniques in order to keep the affected area from being injured again.