One thing that I love about tennis, is that it brings people together, it is a game for life. Studies have shown, that people who play tennis live longer, so why would you ever quit? People quit when the game is no longer fun. Suffering from an injury is not fun! I have had the privilege of working with the Rogers Cup WTA tour over the past twenty years. By far the most common reason that the pros retire from the tour is the emotional fatigue that comes from dealing with injury after injury. It’s not just the pros that are plagued by injury, just look around the courts and notice how many people have a strap on their elbow, or compression sleeve on their knee or ankle. So why are injuries so common in tennis?
First of all, there are two types of tennis injuries, acute and chronic. An example of an acute injury is when you fall on the court...
Most people struggle to improve their tennis conditioning (recovery between points, endurance) on a consistent basis. They get to a point where things plateau or even worse tennis injuries occur. Is that you? Maybe you have been there before.
Having been tennis fitness trainers for over 20 years, we have found this can be due to a number of factors (poor technique, doing the wrong training, motivation, knowledge, application, attitude). I have found that when some simple questions are asked, players know at least 3 things that they can do better straight away to help them improve how they train and apply themselves to their conditioning training.
Finding these 3 things can get players going, boost their motivation, and push them forward. They are often simple things (you don’t want to get too complicated). It’s the realization that they can create change instantly, that is enough to shift their thoughts and will get them seeing things differently,...
Over the years we have found the best ways to prevent tennis injuries and assess if someone is at risk of injuring themselves, this has saved us and our player's countless injury issues. Assessments are just one way of helping reduce the risk of tennis injury.
The main factors that play a role in the occurrence of injury are; Training volume (Acute/chronic), Rest and Recovery (between sessions), Duration of sessions (Length of a session), hydration/nutrition, and technique.
These areas all need to be assessed and monitored to help prevent injury. In fact, a lot of our time these days is spent helping players and coaches get these areas right for the individual. Without doing so players end up with reoccurring injuries or new injuries.
So what are you doing to prevent yourself from getting injured?
The truth be told, most players do one of a few things; The same thing they have been doing for years, something they see on social media that looks cool, or something...
The American College Tennis system has always been a great way for players to develop their game and be in a structured environment. I believe in this day and age the majority of young players coming through should be pursuing this pathway, staying in school and focusing both on Tennis and their academics.
The simple facts are that the majority of good young players (nationally ranked, worldwide) coming through will not compete on the professional level, under 5% of them will make it into the top 1000.
For this reason, I always encourage young players to stay in school and work hard academically no matter how their tennis is tracking. A player is only an injury away from never playing again.
This provides them with structure, social interaction, and an outlet away from tennis. Doing this can open doors to follow the American College Pathway or set them up within their own country to attend a university/college.
I know a lot of players globally are looking to pursue the...
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...
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 player's 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...
In the year 2000, I was lucky enough to get the job as a Physical director at the Sanchez Casal Tennis Academy in Barcelona, Spain. It was a huge responsibility for me at the time as I was young for the role, in such a world-renown premier club.
It started me on a journey that has led to many many highlights in my life. But I am not here to talk about myself! I am here to talk about building relationships.
How when you communicate effectively, have mutual respect and care for each other, friendships are forged, results come, and as you will see opportunities arise.
As a parent, coach, or player, if you are not focused on these areas, there will be plenty of dead-end relationships and no one wants to waste time and energy right?
I want to tell you about an experience I had with a player I worked with starting back in 2000.
Carlos Cuadrado was a young Spanish prodigy when I laid eyes on him, he was already labeled a top 10 player at the age of 16. He was on the rise and it was my job...
Strengthening up specific areas of our bodies can help prevent many tennis-related injuries. Stability, Strength, and flexibility play the biggest part in reducing the risk of spending time off court. Strengthening the smaller “stabilizing muscles” around joints can eliminate a lot of joint-related tennis injuries e.g. tendinitis.
Muscle tissue strength helps prevent muscle tears and connective tissue injuries by providing a more robust athlete, the stronger the muscle tissue the more resilient it will it be. Having the flexibility capacity to get into certain positions, more positions and utilize more muscle is what you need to prevent flexibility related injuries (muscle tears, overuse injuries, etc.)
Due to the physical complexity (strength, stability, flexibility, agility, power, high aerobic capacity, etc.) as players we need to deal with and given the time constraints most players have. More often than not our recovery and injury prevention regimes get put at...
Having been a Tennis Trainer travelling on the WTA and ATP for over 20 years, I honestly believe having the right team around you is crucial. Some tennis players will have an entourage that may consist of tennis trainer, tennis coach, physiotherapist, massage therapist, sports physiologist, chiropractor, dietitian, manager, stringer, parents, family, hitting partner, nanny and even dog minder... I’m sure I have missed some! It really could be an endless list depending on the individual and what their needs are (Serena Williams is one player that comes to mind that has a slightly bigger than normal entourage).
Whilst some players play it low key and may only have one person on their team, which is also fine, getting the team right is important. I remember Justine Henin and Lyndsey Davenport travelling with just a coach, that worked for them, others like to have more people around them. To be honest, it’s not the one with the big entourage that is...
Injuries have a massive impact when it comes to individualized sports. If you are involved in a team sport and you are injured, you can rely on teammates to cover for you and help you out during play. Not in tennis, you are all alone! This is why you need to avoid tennis injuries as much as possible.
We have identified some key areas which will help protect you from serious injury and keep you on court. They will also make you a more robust and confident athlete.
When it comes to tennis mobility and warm-up, we like to focus on a joint by joint approach, either working from the bottom up or from the top down. Whether that’s using myofascial release, trigger point work or dynamic stretching.
We think these are three key areas that are highly important for creating a robust tennis player, that is more resilient to injury.
We recommend performing mobility exercises prior to tennis training. This helps elongate muscles and open joints up for correct movement...