Your body is not ready…

So yesterday I played tennis for the first time in two months and the little blister on my toe got me thinking this morning. This is not a judgement post as to whether you decided to play or not play during this weird time, but it is about a word of warning to those of you that have not played tennis in a while. Your body is not ready….

Maybe you kept doing your workouts at home, maybe you took up running, maybe you did zoom workouts through your gym, but ask yourself how tennis-specific were those workouts? Tennis is a unique sport and as many a tennis physio will tell you it’s quite difficult to prepare for the rigors of tennis without just using hours on the court to build up some of that endurance. And I’m not talking hours of cardio-type endurance (although that’s important too if your only workouts lately have been walks with the kids), but I’m talking repetitive movements like pushing off your outside leg and hip or whipping your racquet around with your arm and torso. For the amateur tennis player, these are not things we work on off-court.

What’s my point? Before you go rushing out there to play as the courts start to open up again, keep two things in mind. Don’t go out there and try to make up for two months of lost court time by playing every day for four hours a day…. um, yes, we tennis players are all a little crazy like that, me included! (Although as a personal trainer, I’m an anomoly as I kinda dig on those physio exercises that prevent injuries.) Ease back in and give your body time to reacclimate.

Second, start doing some preventative measures now. Think shoulders, hips, elbows and ankles. If you are a tennis player, you probably have an orthopedic surgeon on speed dial or a physical therapist at the very least. Think back to the exercises you were given to keep your weaker or injured parts healthy and get back to doing those asap. It will save you from being sidelined off the courts with an injury after two months off for a pandemic. There are lots of resources out there if you don’t know what to do either. Just do something. Or you might need more than just a band-aide for your toe.

Take care, and play safe.

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