With the Australian Open inspiring so many of us to take up the sport of tennis, players need to be aware of the risk of injury on the court.
The rate of tennis injuries has been calculated at five injuries per 1,000 hours of participation. The most common injuries are to the ankle, knee and thigh.
“Every year people are inspired by the Australian Tennis Open and start playing tennis without appropriate preparation. Sadly, this is a recipe for injury,” said Sports Medicine Australia’s spokesperson, Dr Anita Green.
“However many common tennis injuries can be prevented by undertaking good preparation in the form of hydration, warming up, using appropriate equipment and practising good technique.”
Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, offers these timely tips to minimise the risk of injury on the tennis court:
- Always warm up, stretch and cool down
- Maintain an adequate fitness level. Undertake specific conditioning and training exercises that simulate tennis (ie. acceleration, deceleration, twisting, turning and stretching).
- Seek instruction from a qualified coach to develop correct skills and techniques.
- Avoid over-repetition of any one type of shot. Practise a range of strokes including groundstrokes, serves, return of serves, overhead smashes and volleys.
- Use a racquet suitable for your style of play and physical capabilities.
- Check and maintain the playing surface to ensure it is in good condition and free of hazards. A tennis ground checklist can help.
- Seek professional advice on footwear.
- Be sunsmart to protect from heat injury. Wear sun-protective clothing, a hat, sunglasses and SPF 30+ sunscreen.
Developed in association with Tennis Australia, Smartplay’s Preventing Tennis Injuries Fact Sheet encourages players, regardless of skill level, to prepare their bodies for play and to get the most from their game whilst avoiding injury.
For more information visit www.smartplay.com.au
Photo by Deborah Robinson