Prepare Less, Play More: Tennis in Atlanta – The Solutions
Last fitness post I talked about the 5 most common problems that I see with recreational tennis in Atlanta. Now let me clear something up for you. When I say recreational I mean not on the professional or even high amateur circuits. But this does not mean that the players are not out there playing for real. They are deep into tournaments and titles and awards all the same. Maybe that is the reason that they go through all of these problems in the first place. Who knows!!
I want to take the opportunity in this article to tell you my solutions to these problems. I know that most of the competitive athletes that read this will just ignore it, but I guarantee if you follow some if not all of these solutions you can end up playing better than you ever had.
- Playing too much
Solution: Just say NO
As I said last time, this may be the most difficult problem of the group to deal with. The actual solution is very simple, but the issues come from the action steps to complete it. Everyone believes that they owe it to neighbors, friends, family members and past teammates that they play when asked. But this is not the case. You owe it to your body (and family) to make smarter decisions when it comes to physical activities. You must plan out your year and the different leagues that you could possibly join so that you allow yourself more than one day off each week. Make sure that different leagues don’t overlap, especially if one is during playoff time. And lastly, give yourself a few weeks after seasons to just rest and get away from the game.
- Not having playing condition equipment
Solution: Check regularly and replace when necessary
This solution goes a lot deeper than just the aesthetics of the equipment. It is not if your shoes or racket (or court for that matter) look bad, it is about the playing condition. Shoes can look and be practically new and still have tread peeling back. Strings on rackets get loose with more usage and yes practice does count towards that usage. Take the time weekly to check your equipment for faults, inconsistencies and general wear and tear. Once you notice something take note of it and watch it from then on. Once it gets bad, replace it. Remember that with the amount of time you spend on the court the faster your equipment will wear down.
- Not properly warming up before matches
Solution: Dynamic warm-up
You cannot wait until lit is time for you to get on the court to start getting ready to play. I know it is “important” to hit the ball back and forth with your opponent before the match, but the real warm-up starts before that. A proper warm-up consists of (1) increasing the core temperature. If you are not sweating before a match, you are not ready. (2) Increasing blood flow to your muscles. If you still feel stiff when you start, you are not ready. (3) Increasing joint range of motion. If it hurts to take a full swing when you start playing, you are not ready. Get the strategic advantage over your opponent in the first set and be ready to play when you hit the court. To learn more about proper warm-up techniques contact me at Julian@sfxfitness.com and find out what sports performance training can do for you.
- Playing in adverse conditions
Solution: Don’t risk your health
This solution is more about common sense than it is about techniques. The big issue with this is that you need to cooperation of your opponents and other teammates. I know that each league has its own general rules when it comes to playing conditions and outside of that they leave it up to the competitors. But be aware and smart when the temperature gets too cold or too hot. Ask yourself is what you are doing worth the chance of frost bite or heat stroke. I know these are extremes, but sometime so are the conditions that you are getting out in to play. If you have to play take the necessary precautions to make sure that you cannot get hurt in the process.
- Not taking care of the body after playing
Solution: Mimic the pros
This is the simplest of the solutions, but again hard to actually apply. The biggest thing that you need to do is ICE. You have gone through a long match of swinging your racket, which uses your shoulders. This repetitive movement leads to something in the sports performance training world called overuse injuries. You don’t get hurt by doing any specific thing, but after a while you start to notice a nagging pain. Icing is the first line of defense against these types of injuries. Ice reduces the inflammation in the area that it is applied to. It allows the body to be as close to normal as possible before the start of the next set of matches. The tough part about icing is taking the time to get the ice set up and put on. Plus most ice packs are too hard and do not form around the area you need it to. (For information on making good ice packs go to Homemade “forming” ice pack). Once you start taking care of your body after you will see the results in your future matches.
Implementing some of not all of these simple solutions will both improve your tennis game and more importantly keep you a bit more injury free. Of course we all have the possibility of impact injuries. There is really nothing that you can do to prevent those. But allowing the body not to break down gradually will keep you in the game longer and may actually help you hold off any impact injuries. For more information about the sports performance training or general fitness training please visit www.sfxfitness.com and register for your free trial.