Coaching Tip - June 2013

    Tennis Elbow
    Read the tips below to help Prevent Injury

    Tennis is not a contact sport but players can still get injuries.
    One of the most common is tennis elbow a painful repetitive strain injury.

    Tennis elbow can be prevented or the pain of the injury reduced by adopting the following tips.

    Select the correct Tennis Racquet
    One of the main causes of tennis elbow is playing with the wrong racquet.
    The things to look for are

    • The weight of the racquet

    A heavy racquet will result in unnecessary stress on your elbow, arm and shoulder

    • Grip size

    Similarly extra stress on these areas will result if your grip is too small and you hold or grip the racquet too tight so as to prevent it flying out of your hand.
    The rule of thumb is that should be able to place your index finger between your gripped fingers when you are holding your tennis racquet.

    • Strings in the racquet

    There are a wide variety of strings on the market ranging from the synthetic string which allow for greater touch and feel to the poly range which give more durability but often they do not have the same touch and feel.
    Your local Coach or Sports Store will be able to give some good advice in regard to the correct weight, grip size and strings specific for you when purchasing a Tennis racquet.
    In addition you should be able to try out some demo racquets to help you with your decision.
    This can take a while but is a good learning experience.

    Using the correct Technique
    Tennis elbow can be caused by hitting the ball with an incorrect technique

    • For example hitting a topspin forehand with a Continental or Hammer grip

    This over involvement or rotation of the elbow joint results in unnecessary stress on this joint as well as the arm and shoulder

    The coach at your local tennis Club can check out your technique as well as the biomechanics involved in your tennis strokes and let you know if any modifications are required.

    When you first start to play tennis it would be a good idea to have a few private lessons so that you can adopt the correct techniques from the beginning.

    In addition if you do not continue with regular lessons it would be a good practice to have a follow up lessons from time to time so as to monitor the development of your technique(s).

    Prematch Stretching
    Tennis elbow is a repetitive injury but you can help to prevent or reduce the effects of the injury by adopting a prematch stretching regime which includes the elbow joint.
    Contact your local coach or talk to your physio to learn the appropriate stretches and to make sure that you are performing them correctly.

    Get Your Tennis elbow checked out
    Tennis players with tennis elbow should get it checked out by their doctor, Physio and/or a Sports Medicine expert to help treat your particular injury.
    In this way you can get the appropriate advice and treatment so that you can overcome the injury or reduce the effects so that you can resume playing as soon as possible.

    The Sports Medicine expert may advise rest, Physio or playing with an elbow brace.

    Wearing a brace
    The Sports expert will probably prescribe wearing an elbow brace for tennis players with a tennis elbow.
    He/She will recommend a specific brace which will fit properly and perform in the correct way.
    The brace will reduce the tension on the muscles/tendons around the elbow joint so that it reduces stress on this joint.
    Tennis players can also use an elbow brace to help prevent tennis elbow in the future.
    However it is important that the brace is fit for purpose and works for you so get advice from your physio, Sports Medicine expert or Doctor.

    Monitor your time on court
    The only way for some Tennis players to manage their tennis elbow is to limit how often they play or train.
    However it would be good practice to adopt the following

    • Stretch your elbow before training/match sessions
    • Wear a specific elbow brace

    You probably will need to get used to playing with the brace but make sure you wear for all on court sessions

    • Limit the length of your training sessions

    You have minimum control over the length of your club matches/ tournament matches but try to shorten training sessions with more specific and intense activities.

    In addition

    • Use Ice immediately after each training session to help reduce inflammation and pain in your elbow
    • Stay in touch with your Physio or Sports medicine expert so they can monitor your injury progress.
    I hope that the tips above will help to prevent or manage your tennis elbow injury so that you can spend more time on court and as a result take your game to the next level.
    Try not to confuse yourself by thinking too much.
    Keep it Simple.
    Relax and let it happen

    Let me know if you can think of any other options to help you achieve a more consistent and effective physical and mental game.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime

    Contact me by Email if you have any comments or helpful Tennis hints.
    Let me know the things that work for you.

    Coach Steve