We are keeping the “Gearing Up” series going for all you adult tennis league players out there in the Mid-Atlantic so that you are prepared for your best season of tennis yet! Besides getting some of the top questions you may have about playing USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis this season answered, part of getting prepared is being ready physically.
We caught up with Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, who are the provider of certified Athletic Trainers at all of our USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis Championships in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. They’ve spent a lot of time with Mid-Atlantic tennis players at our regional and sectional events and have taken a range of questions from players. Out of all the questions asked, they identified the top three they heard the most during the 2018 League Championship year as it relates to physical fitness. They have provided the questions here with their top tips associated. Read up and see how these tips may help you prepare for playing league tennis this spring in the Mid-Atlantic.
1. How do I prevent myself from overheating and becoming too dehydrated during match play, so that I can perform my best all tournament long?
There are many preventable ways to beat the heat and maintain a low body temperature and proper hydration levels during your match and throughout a tournament. Here are some tips and guidelines to ensure you stay healthy!
- Acclimatize your body before your match by performing a 5 minute warm-up so there won’t be a sudden shock to your body on hot days!
- It’s imperative to limit sun exposure (as much as possible) in between and during the break times during matches.
- Make sure to bring cold packs and cold towels with you to the court to cool off during breaks and changeovers.
- It is very important to MAINTAIN HYDRATION during your match with ICE COLD water and sports drinks.
- Wear proper attire to allow for breathability and provides moisture wicking properties that will assist in keeping body temperatures low.
- Be cautious of too much caffeine and alcohol consumption because these can cause dehydration, especially on warmer days.
Review additional resources on hydration and heat:
2. I will be playing a lot of tennis this season and want to protect my shoulder. What can I do to keep my shoulder healthy?
In order to keep your shoulder healthy in any overhead sport, such as tennis, it is important to address strength and mobility. The Throwers Ten Shoulder Program is a relatively simple but comprehensive compilation of shoulder exercises to address weakness and promote proper shoulder mechanics. Click here to view a video of one of our athletic trainers performing these exercises.
It is also important to prepare for the season by slowly increasing your activity level over time. After a period of rest during the off season, your body needs time to acclimate to the stresses being placed on it. Follow a natural progression by increasing the demands placed on your shoulder over a few weeks. Click here to find an interval tennis program to help increase your activity in a systematic fashion.
3. My elbow hurts and I’ve been told it is most likely “Tennis Elbow.” What exactly is tennis elbow and how can I treat it?
The medical name for Tennis Elbow is Lateral Epicondylitis. It is a painful condition involving the tendon attachment to the bone on the lateral side of the elbow. The tendons help to anchor the muscle to the bone. The muscle involved in this condition, the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis, helps to extend and stabilize the wrist. With Lateral Epicondylitis, degeneration of the tendon’s attachment occurs, weakening the anchor site and placing greater stress on the painful area. This can then lead to pain associated with activities in using the muscle such as lifting, gripping, and or grasping. Such sports as tennis are commonly associated with this condition secondary to the repetitive nature of the sport. Treatment options for Tennis Elbow can include bracing with a tennis elbow strap, proactive stretching, ice massage, anti-inflammatory medications, and strengthening the surrounding musculature. Below you will find further explanation of these treatment options. If pain should persist following treatment, please consult with an orthopaedist for further evaluation. Find our other article about Tennis Elbow on Tennis on Point with more information.
What are some ways you get yourself in shape physically before the start of the tennis league season? Share them with us on social media – tag us and use #ustaspringgearup.
And be sure to check the 2019 calendar here to see which leagues are registering in your area. Contact the listed Local League Ambassador for your local area or our Tennis Connect service to get playing!