With the U.S. Open Tennis Championships starting up this week, it's only fitting to discuss the importance of having good flexibility and mobility as a tennis player in order to play the game at an effective and injury-free level. Below I will discuss a few areas that you might want to focus on to help with your game as well as a few exercises to help increase your mobility.
When looking at the tennis swing from a ground stroke perspective, a great deal of rotation is required through your thoracic spine (mid back). In order to generate the necessary swing speed as well as desired topspin to help keep the ball in the court, here is a great exercise to help increase your thoracic spine mobility.
To create an efficient swing that is also consistent, one of the most important aspects of the game is to be properly set up for a shot with good balance and stability prior to swinging. When that happens, you are able to create power in your shots through a strong base of support. With that base of support comes good mobility in the hips to help with rotation. Here is a great exercise to help increase your hip internal and external rotation.
The swerve in tennis is one of the most challenging shots to execute consistently and effectively, combing a unique blend of overhead movement such as spiking a ball in volleyball and throwing a baseball. This complex motion requires significant range of motion of the shoulder, particularly into external and internal rotation. Here is a good stretch to make sure you have the adequate amount of mobility in your shoulder to perform the service motion (diagram below is for the left shoulder).
If you are unsure whether these exercises are right for you, we would encourage you to come in for an assessment prior to trying these. One of our registered physiotherapists will perform an assessment and help diagnose any potential areas that you may need to work on. Our clinic is conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.
Simon Janik, Registered Physiotherapist, is a graduate of Western University. He has taken post-graduate courses in manual therapy acupuncture and has a special interest in working with athletes, having been a former NCAA tennis player.
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