Gearing Up: Physical Fitness for Adult Tennis Players

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.

hydration_heat_illness_handout

Review additional resources on hydration and heat:

Heat and Hydration tips

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.

elbow stretches-blog

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!

Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and subscribe to the blog so you can keep up with more articles to come as you “gear up” for spring adult league tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Scholarship Program Helps Brothers Excel in Tennis and Life

It started by hitting balls against a wall. For then four-year-old Amir C., he had no choice to be at the tennis courts with his grandparents and brother who was training and competing in tennis at a higher level. To pass the time, he would hit balls against a wall, but everything changed when someone saw a talent in him that couldn’t be ignored. Red ball, orange ball, green ball, he improved through the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s youth tennis progression and now at 11 years old, is expertly competing in junior tournaments throughout the Mid-Atlantic and nationally.

But for Amir’s family, he and his brother Mikeal’s competitive tennis mean a lot of sacrifices especially financially. The boys are being raised by their grandparents and since they are retired the family has limited income. But they’ve had support from USTA Mid-Atlantic’s scholarship program for both boys over the years to help cover some costs such as travel to major tournaments.tennis-hitting-wall-tennis-ball-hoffmann

“I fully support the Mid-Atlantic scholarship program,” says Mikeal and Amir’s grandmother, a tennis player herself and along with the boys’ grandfather, their primary caregiver. “It is extremely hard financially, and the scholarships that we have been fortunate enough to get have been a life saver. It has assisted us in paying tournament fees and travel costs.” 

When Mikeal and Amir were younger, their grandparents began totting the boys along  to the courts. It was only natural that both boys got into the sport. Older brother Mikeal fell in love with tennis and began competing in tournaments when he was seven. Now, he is 17 and is looking into playing Division I collegiate tennis.

And there are many families just like this one, whose children are dreaming big and performing on the tennis court that need help to keep those dreams going. You can be the one that supports the dream and makes a difference.

As can be the case in competitive junior tennis, costs to train and travel tend to increase as young athletes progress. For highly competitive junior tournament players, their tennis experience and development includes traveling to local and regional tournaments, extra hours on the tennis court training and frequent purchases of new equipment.

These costs can be a significant barrier for many families in the Mid-Atlantic region, especially those of low-income. This can mean some families are faced with really tough financial decisions, especially when every dollar counts.

At USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, our ultimate vision is that every child in the Mid-Atlantic plays tennis. We don’t want any child precluded from playing tennis because of financial challenges. We know how important and powerful it is to provide youth a healthy, empowering and enriching activity that can launch the next generation into a successful future.

That’s why we have a scholarship program that supports high performance junior players in need and you can help more kids grow through tennis when you support our programs too.

“Whatever the amount of the scholarship, we have put it to great use on the kids. It has allowed them to be able to play the bigger tournaments that we would otherwise not be able to afford to participate in. They both have really improved their tennis by being able to compete at some of these national tournaments,” says Mikeal and Amir’s grandmother.

She also says that tennis has truly shaped the boys lives for the better, giving the boys friends for life and the know-how to treat and respect their friends. She says they have learned good sportsmanship and integrity, and how to be organized thanks to tennis. And that the sport has made them want to have healthier habits and keeps them grounded.

She adds, “We really appreciate the funds we receive for their tennis. The expenses add up really fast, especially if you have more than one player to support. So much is needed and the scholarship program is a great help to families.”

Last year, USTA Mid-Atlantic was able to provide six players scholarships that totaled $2,500.

We want and need to do more for our youth and families in the Mid-Atlantic that may be struggling financially but that are striving for excellence on the tennis court. Are you able to make a gift and support our scholarship and other programs that help keep kids in the sport?

Make a donation today to USTA Mid-Atlantic and support the future of our sport.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service and has the Guide Star Silver Seal of Transparency. 

 

Playing Adult Tennis Leagues: Top Questions Answered

We are gearing up for the 2019 USTA League tennis season in the Mid-Atlantic. Just like spring signifies renewal and awakening, starting a new tennis league season may be awakening some questions in you!

We reached out to two players – one active USTA League tennis player and one USTA League tennis player coming back to the sport after a break – to find out what questions they have  as they get ready to get back on the courts. See if these questions are similar to yours and get the answers you need.

If you still have questions feel free to send us an email and we’ll help you out!

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Getting ready to play adult tennis leagues this spring? What questions do you have?

Top Three Questions for Players Returning to Tennis

Jessica Manley is a former Division I athlete, mother of one, and dedicated finance professional looking to get back into the game for the social benefits. She last played organized tennis  in 2016 as a 4.5 Computer Rated player in an Adult 18 & Over League out of Norfolk, VA. We caught up with her about the questions she may have in returning to the court in 2019:

Jessica: How can I find out what leagues are offered in Virginia Beach and when, so that I can see what could potentially work with my busy mom/work life?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: We are constantly updating our League calendar. Once you are on this page you can click on the region you would like to play in and see what has been officially scheduled to take place this year. You will also see the name of the Local League Ambassador(s)  in the region that you can contact to find details about playing.   If you don’t see what you are looking for, contact Lori Miller at USTA Mid-Atlantic and she will work with you to find options.

Jessica: It’s been awhile since I was in the tennis loop. How do I even find a team to join now?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: We love to help players get on teams and have a resource just for you – it’s called Tennis Connect. We have staff at USTA Mid-Atlantic whose sole job is to connect players with avenues to play in their local area. We will work with the Local League Ambassadors who run USTA League in your region to find opportunities for you to play. Simply fill out this form with your information, and we’ll help you find the right match for a team in your area. If you have any additional questions you can email us here.

Jessica: Since participating in a USTA League in 2016, I have dealt with an injury and would like to appeal my current NTRP rating. How would I go about this?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Jessica, we are sorry to hear about your injury! Individuals who have a current or valid USTA rating are able to file a medical appeal (if you don’t have a current rating there may be other avenues for your rating to be considered for an appeal). The important thing to know before filing an appeal is that the injury or illness must be permanently disabling. Each appeal is reviewed through a Section and National Committee so the process can take some time, so be sure to give yourself enough time to go through the process.

To file a medical appeal, complete and mail or email the Medical Appeal form  to USTA Mid-Atlantic. All medical appeals MUST be accompanied by a letter from your treating physician stating the date the injury/condition occurred, the nature of your injury/condition, your prognosis and treatment rendered, and whether the injury/condition is permanently disabling. Your physician must also complete the Attending Physician’s Statement found here. We’ll let you know via email as to whether your appeal was granted or denied.

All appeals can be mailed to:
Appeals Committee
c/o Cassie Nocera, Adult Programs Coordinator
11410 Isaac Newton Square North, Suite 270
Reston, VA 20190 

If you have additional questions regarding Medical Appeals, please email Cassie Nocera or call 703-556-6120 x7017. We hope to get you back on the court soon!

Top Three Questions for Active Players

Laura Mitchell is a 4.5 USTA League player who moved from Northern Virginia to Virginia Beach, Va., five years ago. In her twenty-seventh year as a USTA member, she is also passionate about getting youth into the game and has served as the Northern Virginia Junior Team Tennis Coordinator since 2007, winning USTA National Junior Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year accolades in 2009. Laura participates in multiple USTA Leagues in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va annually.

Laura: Is it possible to see dynamic NTRP ratings?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Dynamic ratings are not disclosed to players, whereas year-end NTRP ratings are published annually. The USTA respects the privacy of member information and does not disclose dynamic ratings to the public.  While this information might be desirable to some, in other instances it could negatively affect player experience and/or ability to participate in the USTA League Program.  Read more information on Dynamic Ratings.

Laura: Is it possible for TennisLink to have easier instant information/communication on the site such as a chat box?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: There is an online chat feature in TennisLink which you can find here: http://activesupport.force.com/usta/USTA_Contact, but Active Network and USTA is always trying to improve customer service on TennisLink. You can also reach out to Cassie Nocera, Adult Programs Coordinator at  leagues@mas.usta.com if you ever have a question regarding TennisLink during the year.

USTA has been making significant enhancements to the digital experience for players and members and some exciting changes will be rolling out throughout 2019 and 2020. Stay tuned for more information!

Laura: Will USTA League players have the opportunity to have UTR rating as well?

USTA Mid-Atlantic: USTA recognizes that the UTR is a great tool that can be used to help grow the game of tennis in the United States. It is being heavily used at the collegiate level in assisting college coaches to assess players. USTA Mid-Atlantic uses UTR at the junior level, but NTRP will continue to be the ratings used for the USTA League program.

Maybe you are returning to play organized adult tennis in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC or West Virginia from a long break? Or perhaps your NTRP rating changed and you’ll be at a new level and you are not sure how to get started. What questions do you have as the spring adult tennis league season approaches? How are you “gearing up” for USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis leagues? Tag us with your tips or questions on social media and use the hashtag #ustaspringgearup. Don’t forget, we’ll have more information throughout the month so subscribe to the blog and make sure you are following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

 

Gearing Up for League Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic

It’s one month in to 2019 and tennis players in the Mid-Atlantic are counting down the days until the spring adult tennis leagues get underway in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Spring is generally when some of the most popular league divisions play with many advancing to Mid-Atlantic Regional and Sectional tennis championships. Thousands of people join league tennis play in the spring. It is an exciting time as the snow melts, flowers bloom and tennis players get back out on the courts.gear-up-for-mid-atlantic-league-tennis

While many of us sit and pine for the days of spring when our calendars are packed with tennis matches, let’s not waste this little bit of downtime to get prepared for the season ahead.

USTA Mid-Atlantic wants to help you “gear up” for the spring tennis season. We’ve put together a series of articles that you’ll find here on the Tennis on Point blog in the Tips and Tricks category that will help get you ready.

The “Gearing Up” series will cover topics such as: 

Look out for links to the latest articles on our Facebook page throughout February and March or subscribe to our blog to never miss an article.

If you’ve got tips or tricks that you use to get ready for the tennis season, share them with us on social media – tag us and use #ustaspringgearup. We may also have some fun surprises you can snag to help you “gear up,” so watch out for those!

Check out the first article in the series and let’s get ready to “gear up” for USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis!

DIY Holiday Decor Sports Theme: Tennis Ball Wreath

The holiday season is here and for so many of us in the Mid-Atlantic that means a time to take a break, relax and enjoy some down time with friends, family and loved ones. We love the holidays for so many reasons, but a big part of what makes it special is the chance to do certain activities that maybe we don’t often get to do other times of year, such as baking, binge watching Hallmark Channel, hanging out in PJs all day and maybe doing crafts and other hands-on activities or special outings.  For all of our tennis friends out there, we know (hope) this time of year means extra time to get in lots of tennis too!

But if you’re looking for fun DIY activities during the holiday break, either for yourself to try or to do with your kiddos or grandkiddos, look no further. Tennis fans will be sure to love this DIY Tennis Ball Wreath activity! This wreath is great for the holidays and really, can be transitioned to use any time of year, especially during your tennis season and hung during the US Open too! Just leave off the holiday embellishments or make a version with out those holiday touches for more versatile use throughout the year.

Alright, let’s get making! Grab those used tennis balls and fire up the glue gun, and get ready to have some fun!

Tennis Ball Wreath

What You Need

Gather your supplies 

What you need: 

16-17 used tennis balls

1-2 sleeves of ornaments

1 wire clothes hanger

Ribbon or Bow

Glue Gun

Scissors

Box cutter or X-Acto knife

Instructions 

Step 1: Unravel your wire clothes hanger and shape into a circle.Step 1

Step 2: Cut two 1” slits on each tennis ball. If doing this project with kids, make sure an adult is there to supervise or this is a step that only an adult does. 

Step 3: Feed tennis balls one by one onto the wire hanger, filling the wire hanger.Step 2 and 3

Step 4: Re-twist the wire hanger at the top to leave a hook for hanging. Note: at this point you can decide if you want your tennis balls in line with each other, or want to rotate them up or down to add dimension (see two final wreaths below for layout).

Step 5: Pull out those ornaments and glue gun. Place ornaments throughout the wreath using hot glue to secure them.Step 5

Step 6: Add your ribbon or bow to the top, below your hook.

Step 7: Hang on your door for a festive tennis feel or gift these out to all the tennis fans and players in your life!

 

We’d love to see your finished products! Make some tennis ball wreaths and send us a picture or post it to social media tagging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!  And keep on playing and using those tennis balls up so you can make more crafts! Learn more about playing tennis with USTA Mid-Atlantic. 


Shell Wood is the Events Manager for USTA Mid-Atlantic. She enjoys crafting and repurposing items, especially tennis equipment, to bring a little pizzazz to our events.