My tip this month is about tennis elbow. It's got to be the #1 physical complaint of members. If you haven't had it yet, count yourself lucky! It's an overuse injury, so if you play a lot and for many years, there is a good chance you will get it. It can be so painful it forces you to stop playing for a time to let it heal. I even know players who have switched to their non-dominant hand while they let their arm heal. Even Novak has been sidelined for half of the 2017 season due to elbow issues.
So the golden question is, how do we get rid of it?
I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, but I get this question so often I have some ideas.
1. REST. This is not always possible, but what the elbow really needs is some rest from the action that is causing the injury, which is whacking a ball over and over. A good 3 weeks should in most cases give the tendons enough time to recover enough to feel better.
2. STRENGTHEN. There is a device called a THERABAND FLEXBAR. This thing used once or twice a day is a great way to strengthen the area that has become weak and gives you a way to battle against the degeneration of those tendons and muscles. It's a bit tricky to use, its all about the negative action of it, so I have included a short video on how to use it. This is former member Ben Kim by the way, a tennis player himself and a great therapist.
3. THERAPY. Acupuncture can be effective. It offers a week or two of relief, and if you do the other components, you can manage this injury. Shockwave Laser treatment has had good reports for this injury as well, as does Physio or Chiropractic.
4. MASSAGE. You don't need to book an appointment, just learn to massage the muscles yourself. Get in the habit of doing this often, especially immediately after playing tennis, use oils or moisturizer when you do it for maximum effect. I have also included a YouTube video for this one too.
5. STRETCH. You have got to stretch our your hands and wrists. They get tight and this is part of the issue. Create the habit of stretching out all the time, as often as you can remember in the day. Another video on how to do this one.
6. TECHNIQUE. Finally, maybe the way you play is not helping out your cause to get rid of it, or has caused you to get it faster than others. Good technique is a way for us to hit the ball with little effort, but good technique also helps players avoid injury longer than a player with effort-full technique. Above all else, the one tip that will help the most is hand tension. Ask yourself how hard are you gripping the racquet when you hit strokes? If it’s more than a 5 out of 10 in your estimation, it's too hard. White-knuckle grips are not good for tennis. I tell players it should be in the neighborhood of about 2 out of 10, almost dangling until impact when you give the racket a little squeeze to help accelerate through the shot. Breathing at impact also really helps, holding our breath, and banging shots is never good for injury prevention. Try your best to play relaxed and fluid, smooth tennis. It looks better, allows you play longer without injury and is the secret to big power. Here is a video on grip tension. P.S. Essential Tennis is likely the best online tennis resource (which this link is). Enjoy!
- Johnny Glanville, Head Professional