It’s that time of year again when people start hitting the court in droves. It’s also a time when doctors report more tennis-related injuries. Tennis injuries can occur from poor conditioning, improper equipment, a poor swing or overuse. By staying fit, using the correct racket, and “listening” to your body, you can enjoy tennis for a lifetime.
Conditioning must begin long before heading to the court. General fitness is important for any sport, but leg and core strength, and flexibility are very important to prevent tennis injuries. Discuss a proper exercise program with a trainer, or, if so inclined, exercise with a personal trainer.
Prior to playing, work up a light sweat by walking briskly, jogging, or doing jumping jacks. Only after warming up should you stretch. It has been shown that active or dynamic stretching is better than static stretching. For example, to stretch the knees and hips, it would be best to do lunge type of movements.
After stretching, tennis activities can begin, and should be worked into gradually. Just as you see the pros warming up with each other before a match, work on all your strokes and your serve before actually playing.
As far as equipment goes, too heavy a racket can be a problem. It is best to try out several rackets, and get the advice of a professional to determine what racket and what string tension is best for your game.
Finally, there is your swing. Hitting the ball late and “wristing” the swing are two common problems for weekend warriors. It is hard to beat a few lessons to perfect the right stroke to avoid injury, and keep you an “ACE.”