If you’re still lamenting the end of another Australian tennis grand slam and thinking of dusting off that racket and getting back onto the court, here’s a few tips to help you stay injury free.
As a physiotherapist, I see a lot of patients who injure themselves playing recreational tennis. Not even the great Federer himself is safe from injury.
Some of the most common injuries that occur in tennis include rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder, tendon injuries at the elbow (known as tennis elbow) and calf strain.
As ‘ace’ as it is to get moving, we want to make sure you do so safely so you don’t spend the warmer months nursing a niggling injury.
So, if you’re looking to perfect your backhand here’s a few pre-game warm ups to keep you safe and injury free.
It’s particularly important you do these stretches if you’re injury prone or if you haven’t exercised in a while. If it has been a while since you exercised, I would recommend consulting your GP or family doctor first.
Rotator Cuff release
Grab a tennis or spiky ball and place it at the back of the shoulder, just under the prominent bony ridge of the shoulder blade. Lean onto a solid wall, firmly pressing ball into tight area for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3-4 times, each time finding a different area to release.
Lift your dominant (racket) arm out in front of you, fully extended, and rotate your arm so your thumb is pointing towards the floor. Flex your wrist away from you, using your other hand to apply gentle pressure over the fingers to increase to stretch. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Place the balls of your feet on a step and rise up on to your toes. Slowly lower your heels down to below the step. Pause for 2 seconds, and feel the stretch along your calves. Rise back up in a faster motion onto your toes. Repeat this 15 times.
Round these stretches out with a soft jog around the court and you’re set to go!