How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries In Tennis
There is a good chance if you play tennis you have had some form of a shoulder injury. The shoulder injury statistics are not great for the tennis lover. Having been a tennis fitness trainer for nearly 20 years, I would say shoulder injuries are one of the most common body parts that get messed up.
The majority of tennis shoulder injuries are overuse injuries, which generally means they can be prevented following certain preventive measures. We will look at these later on.
First, let’s look at the complexity of the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. It is highly mobile. It is estimated the shoulder joint can be placed in 1000s of different positions.
If you compare the shoulder joint to say the hip joint, the hip joint has a lot more structure and support around it, it is a lot more robust.
The shoulder joint, on the other hand, is more isolated and has a lot less muscle mass around it to support the joint....
I want to highlight an issue we often see in tennis players. Being aware of this and addressing it is something that has the capacity to prevent many tennis injuries for players.
Whenever we assess a player’s tennis mobility and flexibility we always start from the ground up (big toe flexion, foot alignment, ankle joint range, calf complex flexibility, etc.).
We have found with tennis players, they tend to get locked up or jammed in their ankle joints, their calf complex (plantaris, soleus, and gastrocnemius muscle) and the tibialis anterior (runs alongside your shin bone). Muscles shorten and joint mobility becomes restricted.
It is common to see players with poor ankle mobility in the leg they land on during the service motion.
To understand the importance of ankle mobility lets to take a step back and look at the body joint-by-joint. The body can be seen as an alternating stack of stable and mobile joints.
The ankle joint being the lowest to the ground, the ankle joint is a...
Nathan and Giselle operate their world-renowned Tennis Fitness brand and have trained five world number one players over the life of the business.
Through the journey of creating Tennis Fitness, they both developed a passion for the sport after learning the ins and outs of the game. “Being a tennis trainer, I think tennis is the pinnacle of sport because it is so complex in many ways,” Giselle explained.
Nathan and Giselle have built a breadth of experience working with athletes such as Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Stosur, Martin Navratilova, Jennifer Capriati, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Monica Seles. The lessons learned have inspired them to create their own ‘Martin Method’ brand to achieve success with players of all levels.
According to Nathan, the success they have experienced has come from a unique focus on the mental resilience involved with high-level training. “As much as we use the physical aspect, you also start to realize how important training is to...
We were chatting with a pro player that we helped out and we asked them a few questions about life for him on tour. We were amazed at some of his answers to the question.
What is tough about life on the road?
After hearing about how things roll for lower ranked players, we find ourselves totally blessed!
I was lucky to start my career 15 years ago working at the top level with Monica Seles, and Giselle working with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. We have never seen the hardship described below, but we are aware they exist.
We don’t want to slag professional tennis in any way, we want the general tennis community to know what life is like, for an aspiring tennis player. We want to help educate young players on what they need to prepare for and push through, in order to be in the top 100.
Male players rankings sit between 1-1000. The circumstances we are talking about below relate to players ranked 200 and below. Considering they are 800 of the best players in the world it was a real...
We all see so much of what people do physically in their tennis training. I still find it surprising, when I tell somebody I do tennis mental training people often laugh and say something like
“You are nuts” or "I don't believe in that stuff"
I always encourage people to try it, before they judge it.
Have you ever done a mental training session? “Why would you do that?”
In short, so you can play your best more often despite tough feelings and pressure. So you have strong routines, strong positive body language, have better tennis conditioning, are more aware of your thoughts and have the capacity to let go quickly, so you can select the right options and have a clear mind.
So, how do you practice mental training? You can start with the following exercises. Do 2-3 minutes of each one every day, the whole routine should only take 10 minutes, it is often best at night when your mind is more receptive (You can set a reminder alarm in your phone to prompt...
When I was a young athlete I would have never considered journaling or writing about how I was feeling or how I played or competed. I actually rarely stretched, ate well or focused as much as needed to in order to extract as much as I could out of myself. Was I dedicated? You bet, I put more into what I did than anyone else, I prided myself on being my fittest version and I would have done more if I had been simply shown.
The reason why the stretching, recovery, healthy eating, etc never happened was that I never had someone teach about those things, I never was exposed to their benefit.
Fast forward 3 decades, the journey I have been on myself has been life-changing. I spend more time working on my body and health than I do on training it. The number of resources that have developed has opened doors to health and enhanced performance and now the fact that young athletes expect to stretch, recover, warm up and know what healthy eating is, is a testament to how far we have come.
As tennis legend Arthur Ashe famously said, “There is a syndrome in sports called paralysis by analysis.”
Paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing a situation, resulting in poor execution. The history of paralysis by analysis dates back thousands of years to where the concept can be seen in one of Aesop’s Fables:
A fox boasts to a cat that it has hundreds of escape options while the cat only has one. When the two animals hear hounds approaching, the cat scampers up a tree while the fox gets caught up, paralyzed upon debating which escape route he should take.
Especially amongst juniors, most tennis instruction is centered around correct biomechanics, and while technical aspects are fundamental, it is all too easy for players to fall into the trap of this ‘practice mindset’ and constantly devote their attention to the split step, unit turn, pointing with their left hand, driving the butt cap through, brush up the ball, elbow finish high...
Tips to Improve Training Intensity – Are you getting this right?
This blog is for the serious player or coach that wants to produce high level players.
The intensity that an athlete trains at dictates the level they will condition their bodies to play at. Simply put, if you train at a 6 out of 10, how can you expect your body to perform at an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10.
This simple principle is one of our key “Court Movement Principles”. In all reality it does not matter what drill or tennis exercise you do, if you do not have the capacity to train at a high intensity your improvements and results will be limited.
How can I get my player to improve their intensity?
This is the most common question we get asked each week.
Having seen many top athletes train, practice and play. One thing stands out. When they are tennis training off court, they push harder than they would on court, in a match.
Lleyton Hewitt, Sam Stosur and Martina Navratilova come to mind...
If you have been a coach or trainer for a while, you would have heard this question a few times “So do they have a chance of making it”. It is always a tough question to answer.
We believe tennis is definitely the most challenging and complexed sport globally to reach the top in. So many factors to consider! However, I believe there is one factor that stands alone and gives me a good indication on whether a player has the desire to “Make it”
If a player does not have the willingness to do “whatever it takes” they are a zero chance.
I honestly believe that.
Any high-level sports person somewhere along their journey has gone to places few others will, pushing themselves, sacrificing time – money – relationships and never giving up.
Some stay there for years and succeed more than others.
I want to tell you a story about a young kid. It will give you, a sense of what I believe as a tennis trainer, coach, and parent we should be...
Janine Thompson is a highly regarded world class player and coach.
Playing career - #9 World Junior / #52 WTA Singles / #9 WTA Doubles / Fed Cup 3 times
Coaches : Tony Roche, John Newcombe and other world class coaches, helped shape Janine’s coaching methodology.
Janine has coached many top juniors and professional players.
As Tennis Trainers we appreciate Janine’s willingness to share knowledge and work together for the betterment of players. As you will also find Janine is candid and to the point, this something we also love about her.
Read Janine's blog on progressing a tennis player.
You wouldn’t take your car with an engine problem to a dietician or naturopath for some change of juice advice. OR if you had a racquet needing restringing to an alteration shop.
There are so many aspects involved in the progression of a tennis player. Each have unique stories with different beginnings and endings. Sometimes their road maps seem like directions to nowhere...