When the likes of Wimbledon champions Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber walk onto court for a pre-match warm-up, they really aren’t warming-up at all. The few cursory swings and brief knock-about are more about each player getting to know the court and adapting to the atmosphere. They warm up the crowd far more than they warm up the contenders.
Every professional tennis player knows that in reality the serious pre-match work starts way before the crowd begins cheering. Could your body and game benefit from doing the same?
In the world of tennis, successful games and staying injury-free are as much about preparation as they are about play. The sport requires instant reactions, constant direction changes, speed and power so being mentally and physically on-point is crucial. Going into a match cold can leave us open to attack and liable to pick-up injuries, so warm-ups are time well spent.
If you ever played with plasticine as a child you may remember how hard it was to mould when cold. The muscles and tendons are similar. Stretching them too far, too fast can lead to strains, pulls, tears and the dreaded tennis elbow. To minimise the chance of injury and time off court or time off work, try following these warm-up ideas to get your body ready.
First of all, gradually get your heart rate up by jogging around the court a few times. If you switch-up to skipping after a few circuits, this will help your body prepare for the ‘bounce’ action in the game.
When your heart is beating faster and you begin to sweat, move on to some dynamic stretching. At this point in the preparation, your muscles won’t be fully up-to-speed so avoid static stretches. Movements that mimic tennis actions are particularly beneficial so try out some arm swings, high steps, lunges, ground reaches and squats. These will all loosen your muscles and get your fast-twitch fibres active.
Finally put in a few practise hits, hitting through the ball and exaggerating your movements. It is always best to leave any practice serves until last as they put the most strain on your body.
Sadly, even with the most careful of warm-ups injuries can still occur. Slipping, twisting awkwardly and falling can all leave us in trouble as can repeated overuse of a muscle or joint. If it can happen to Andy Murray in a grand slam, it can happen to any of us after all.
The double downside to sports injuries is that they can leave us not only in pain, but out of pocket as well. Time off of work and physio or chiropractor appointments can soon add up financially so it is important to ensure you have good sports insurance just in case the worst happens.
We offer the best sports insurance at the best price for financial peace of mind – think of it as another essential type of preparation. Contact us for a quote or to talk through the right policy for you. Make sure it’s only your muscles, not your budget you’ll need to stretch.