As mentioned previously tennis is physically a very demanding sport that requires players to have almost all components of athletic prowess including power, speed, strength, endurance and agility. A good injury prevention program or physical training program should condition an athlete to meet the unique demands that the sport requires of them. For example shoulder rehabilitation or strengthening work in tennis should not just focus on the shoulder joint itself but should address all other remote factors that affect the joints movement and the forces acting on it during play.
In tennis power is generated from the ground upwards and transferred through the body’s kinetic chain. The kinetic chain can be divided up into the lower limb (legs), trunk (lower/upper back) and the upper limb (shoulder, elbow and wrist). The research has shown that during the service action a tennis player who generates more power in the legs by driving efficiently from the ground will have less stress acting on the shoulder joint. Those players who fail to drive well from the legs when attempting to create power on the serve have to make up for that lack of energy further up the chain i.e. the shoulder. This results in an added load on the shoulder joint as it tried to accelerate faster in order to create the same power placing the structures that support it at greater risk of injury. Similarly tennis players who have a weak back or core (mid-section of the kinetic chain) will leak energy that is being transferred up from the legs resulting in a greater stress on the arm and shoulder as it tries to make up for lost energy and power.
At Portobello physiotherapy we look to implement comprehensive injury prevention and conditioning programs that train all the athletic components needed for your sporting discipline. We will screen you for any deficiencies in movement and assess your overall biomechanics. Any identified weaknesses will then be targeted and addressed with specific corrective exercises. Don’t wait to till you get injured! Put yourself on the right path now to improving your performance and reducing your risk of injury on court.