If you're like many Americans, you're actively looking for a way to ramp up your exercise. Tennis can be a fantastic physical outlet, as playing tennis for fun can allow you to burn anywhere from 169 to 208 calories in just 30 minutes, depending on your gender. Not only can tennis be a great workout, but it's also a highly enjoyable activity. That said, failing to train properly and on an ongoing basis is asking for trouble.
Most people aren't merely naturally gifted at tennis. It takes a lot of hard work with training equipment and coaching tools to improve your skills. And if you attempt to skip over the use of tennis training aids and adequate instruction, you might be at higher risk for hurting yourself on the court. Of course, it's not just beginners who might sustain harm; experienced athletes can also injure themselves, too. But many of the most common tennis injuries result from a failure to use the right kind of tennis training accessories. If you don't have the discipline to follow the best practices, you might find yourself nursing one of the following kinds of injuries.
Even if you've never used tennis training equipment before in your life, you've probably at least heard of tennis elbow. You don't actually have to be a tennis player to experience this injury (which involves inflammation of your elbow's tendons), but tennis players are certainly more prone to it. Essentially, it occurs from overuse, like the repeated bending of the wrist that occurs when utilizing a tennis racket. If you experience a painful, burning sensation in the elbow area, that could be a sign you're dealing with tennis elbow.
Continuing to play through this condition can make matters a whole lot worse. Treatment, therefore, usually involves a lot of rest and icing of the area. However, you can minimize your risk of developing tennis elbow by warming up and cooling down before and after your practice sessions and matches. You'll also want to ensure that your tennis court materials, like your racket, are being utilized properly. Make certain your racket is strung as it should be and that your grip is correct. If either is too tight, you might be more likely to develop tennis elbow. You can also invest in a special supportive brace to wear while playing, as this can keep your elbows in good shape.
Shoulder injuries often occur when tennis players use certain moves that require excessive use of the rotator cuffs. These moves are often integral to the game, so eliminating them from play isn't really the answer. Instead, players need to prioritize their conditioning. By doing stretches and exercises that work these muscles and strengthen the shoulders, you can do your part to minimize injury risk. For example, using an exercise band as part of your regular training equipment can allow you to decrease pain and your risk for injury. You should also get plenty of rest between tennis lessons and switch up your routine so that you aren't playing too much tennis for your body to recover.
According to the organization Stop Sports Injuries, 20% of junior tennis players suffer stress fractures. Stress fractures usually occur when training is increased too quickly. When your muscles are tired out from so much activity, this places more stress on the bone -- and makes it more likely that the bone cracks. You can avoid these injuries by using the proper tennis court materials (like appropriate footwear, for starters) and ensuring that both your training equipment and training schedule allows for realistic expectations. Make sure that if you plan to play tennis regularly, your training be completed over a reasonable time frame. Alternating tennis with other low-impact physical activities can protect your body from stress fractures, as well.
Trying to push beyond your limits or taking a DIY approach to tennis won't be to your advantage. In the majority of cases, proper training can actually help you to prevent the most common kinds of tennis injuries. Whether you're a beginner or a consummate pro, make sure you have the proper equipment and training materials to keep you safe on the court.