Tennis Fit Series: The Fundamentals of Recovery for Tennis Players

Tennis Fit Series: The Fundamentals of Recovery for Tennis Players

We all get sore and physically tired after a tough training session or tennis match.  Don’t worry!  Soreness is okay and just part of the process, but prolonged soreness can deter you from playing your best tennis.  Here are some quick and easy ways to help you recover more quickly after hours on the tennis court.

Rest

Rest involves two different components: sleep and time off from playing tennis. Your body does most of its rebuilding while you are in REM sleep. So in order to fully recover from a vigorous three set night match, it’s important that you get home early enough to get your sleep.  Taking days off from playing tennis is also very important.  If you continue to use the same muscles day after day without adequate rest,  you never allow them to grow, which may lead to injury and/or poor performance.  Even college and professional tennis players take a day or days off each week to rest and focus on recovery.

Nutrition

When you are playing a lot of tennis as a junior or an adult, you need to make sure you are eating a healthy and well-rounded diet.  Without adequate calorie intake your body will not be able to make the necessary repairs before your next tennis match or training session.  Also remember to drink plenty of water. Water helps speed up the recovery process and forces the byproducts of exercise out of the muscles.

Soft Tissue (Example- Foam Rolling)

Soft tissue techniques can be a lifesaver when you are sore.  The day after your long three set match, warm-up with some easy cardio (bike, light jog, etc.) and then get to work on your recovery with foam rolling.  If you are not familiar with foam rolling or self-massage techniques, you will come to love it.  Foam rolling is a great way to loosen up bound fascia and help clear out those unwanted byproducts of exercise. So when you are really sore, take that extra day to work on yourself and recover.

tennisstretchingStretching

Static stretching can help you lengthen out those tight muscles and increase your flexibility.  The arm, shoulder, lower back, hip, and calf muscles are all very active while playing tennis and commonly tighten up. Gently stretch these muscle groups to improve circulation, flexibility, and recovery.  Work on your breathing and relaxation while you lengthen these tight areas.  Hold stretches for 20 seconds on each side.

Watch the video below to see a few of my favorite post-match stretches.

These stretches are easy to do at home, at the gym, or at the courts. Try incorporating these stretches into your weekly tennis routine. These stretches not only minimize the risk of injury, but can improve mechanics and performance so you can play better, healthier tennis in in 2015.

Check out how the pros are stretching on the ATP tour and, for further reading, check out Max Mirnyi: The Flexible Beast

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on lateral movement, which will include some of my favorite footwork drills!

 

Tennis Fit Series: Choose the Best Tennis Racquet For You

Tennis Fit Series: Choose the Best Tennis Racquet For You

Over the years, I, like many other tennis players, have felt the need to make a racquet change from time to time.  Whether my goal was to hit the ball harder, to be more consistent, to look more like a pro, or to take stress off my arm, I have always relied on outside help.  The rapid advances in racquet and string technology 315-Mainover the last twenty years have been very difficult to keep up with, which is why I lean on experts like Rob Provence, owner of Second Serve Tennis Center, to keep me up to speed.

Watch the video below, as Rob discusses the latest and greatest on tennis racquets and strings.

The type of racquet and string you play with can certainly play a major role in your arm health.  Choosing the appropriate racquet and string for your game is an easy way to reduce the repetitive load on the wrist, elbow, and shoulder, which is so important when coming off an injury or trying to prevent injury.

Here are some additional tips that may reduce the load to the arm:

  • A reduction in string tension leads to an increase in time the ball spends on the strings, which results in a decrease in load.
  • Gripping the racquet loosely prior to ball impact decreases the load.
  • A stiffer racquet, while providing more power, also transfers more load.

In general, a tennis racquet that has a larger head, is of moderate weight, strung at moderate tension, and is gripped loosely before and during impact combines the best characteristics to decrease the risk of injury from the interaction of the ball hitting the racquet.  To find out more information on which racquet is best for you, visit your local tennis shop and find the expert!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog for quick tips on recovery to reduce injury and improve performance!