Three key ways to warm up for tennis

Tennis ball on a hardcourt

Having your own tennis court is a dream for many homeowners, but if you are playing tennis regularly you need to make sure that you warm up properly before each game. This helps you to avoid injuries and helps you recover from each session quickly.

Stretch your wrist and forearm

Your wrists and forearm take a lot of strain when you play tennis, and their overuse can lead to the onset of tennis elbow. That means it is vital that you should stretch them out before you begin to play. To begin the stretch stand with both arms extended in front of your body at shoulder height with the palms facing away and fingers towards the ground.

Use your weaker hand to press the fingers of your racket hand back. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other arm. Then turn your palms so they are facing you and repeat the stretch with both hands.

Lunges

Tennis can be very hard on the leg muscles with fast changes of directions and explosive sprinting required on most points. This means that you need to ensure your legs are strong and flexible when on the court, so you should warm up with a circuit of lunges to both build your leg strength and get your legs ready for play on the court.

To carry out lunges you should stand upright and then step one leg forward to create a right angle at the knee, then explode back off that leg to the standing position.

Stretch your back and glutes

Tennis works out the whole of the body so you should stretch out your back and glutes before playing. Lie on the ground face-up and draw up your knees so that they also make contact with your chest – hold them in place with your hands for 30 seconds, making sure that your back and shoulders stay in contact with the ground.

Common tennis injuries and how to prevent them

Shot of a tennis player with elbow injury on a clay court

Tennis may not be a high impact or contact sport, but it comes with its fair share of injury risks. Here we take a look at some of the most common tennis injuries as well as the best ways to avoid them.

Tennis elbow

Probably the most infamous injury for tennis players is lateral epicondylitis, which is more commonly known as tennis elbow. It is pain in the elbow causing by an inflammation of tendons that join the forearm to the top of the elbow, and it is usually caused by the overuse of the forearm which is one of the most commonly used muscles in tennis. If you have tennis elbow you might experience pain or burning around your elbow as well as a weak grip, and symptoms are typically worse when you use your forearm.

Make sure that you adequately rest and do not strain your forearm when playing tennis. If you begin to see signs of tennis elbow see your doctor and consider avoiding tennis while it heals.

Torn rotator cuff

Tearing your rotator cuff is another very common injury for tennis players, because the tendons and muscles of the shoulder are used in every shot in tennis. Many people associate rotator cuff tears with serious trauma but tendons can also tear due to having been worn down through overuse, so it may not be immediately obvious that you have a torn rotator cuff.

If you notice weakness, pain and tenderness in your shoulder or difficulty lifting with your arm, you may have a torn rotator cuff. The best way to avoid a torn rotator cuff from tennis is to hit shots with good technique and resting any time you experience shoulder pain.

Jumper’s knee

Also known as patellar tendonitis that is often causing by repetitive lunging or jumping which can cause tears in the patellar tendon, which attaches the kneecap to the shinbone. This is something that is very regularly seen in tennis players due to the natural movements on the tennis court. The best way to avoid it is to rest if you begin to notice symptoms such as pain or swelling in your knee.

How to stay healthy

If you have struggled with injuries on your court, it may be the case that the surface needs to be replaced. A poor tennis surface can lead to a higher risk of developing injuries, so if you have had your tennis court for a long time without any resurfacing work it could be worth looking into it.

Maintaining your tennis court over winter

Tennis court closeup

Winter weather is harsh on a tennis court, whether you have a hard court or a synthetic surface. It is also the time of year that you are likely to be using the court the least, and so you are perhaps less likely to be motivated to clean and take care of it. But it’s vital that you should maintain your court over the winter to ensure that it is in good condition when the warmer weather returns and you want to get out and enjoy some tennis.

Here are a few important tips that you can follow this winter to maintain your tennis court and make sure that it stays in good condition.

Remove debris and dirt as soon as possible

Wind, rain and generally poor weather over the winter means that all kinds of debris and dirt can be blown onto the court. But debris like leaves and pine needles, as well as bird droppings and rubbish are very bad for these surface of your court if they are left for long. They can allow bacteria and mould to grow which will damage the court. Make sure that you brush away any foreign matter as soon as you see it on the court.

Clear standing water

Of course, heavy rain is more likely in the winter and puddles that accumulate on the court of the court are bad for a number of reasons. Firstly these puddles can be filled with dirt which can then build up on the court if the water is not cleared quickly. Secondly, in very cold weather these puddles can freeze which can do real damage to the surface, causing holes.

Have your court cleaned regularly

It’s also important that you should have your court cleaned over the winter to remove build-ups of moss and mould. It is a good idea to have your court jet cleaned by professionals for the best results, although you should also regularly clean the court yourself.