Preparation before tennis practice or a match is crucial to prevent injuries and keep your body healthy. Even if you're limited on time or space, you can still take some time to prepare yourself physically and mentally.
Make sure you include a dynamic stretching routine. Do each dynamic stretch for as many reps as you can, from one doubles sideline to the other. Once you finish one stretch at the end of the doubles sideline, turn around and do the next stretch back to the original sideline, and so on.
Dynamic Stretching Routine
- Start at a standing position.
- Keeping your legs and arms straight, place your hands flat on the ground as close to your feet as you can.
- Walk your hands out (keeping your legs straight) until you're in a push-up position.
- Keep your arms and legs straight as you slowly walk your feet back to your hands.
- Walk your hands back out and repeat the movement.
Lunges with Rotation
- Lunge forward with one leg and rotate your torso to the opposite side and back.
- Switch legs, lunging forward and rotating your torso to the opposite side and back.
- Start at the sideline but face the net instead of the other sideline.
- Take a wide side step out toward the far sideline and bend that knee into a side lunge position.
- Straighten your legs and pivot as you turn your body around with your back to the net.
- Perform a Side Lunge to the other side.
High Knee Skips
- Skip to the sideline with high knees and an exaggerated jump.
- Jog, bringing your legs up to an exaggerated height as your foot comes back.
- Tap your butt with your heel.
- Do 10 reps in each direction on each side.
- For balance, you can use a fence, a wall or even the side of the net.
- Start with your arms straight out and to your sides with your palms facing down.
- Circle your arms in a forward rotation, starting with a small, fast motion.
- Gradually make the circles bigger and slower.
- Rotate your arms forward for 30 seconds, then backward for 30 seconds.
To get your heart rate going, you may want to do some light cardio preparation. Jumping rope is a tennis player's favorite exercise. It's quick, easy and effective.
Jump rope warm-up
- Left-leg-only, 25 reps
- 10-second rest
- Right-leg-only, 25 reps
- 10-second rest
- Jump with both legs, 50 reps
Mental Warm-Up Routine
Most players benefit from a mental warm-up through visualization. Tennis matches require intense focus. The sooner you start focusing before the match, the better. You can actually visualize a full match in your head. Go through points in your mind, focusing on the ball and your strokes, shot-making patterns and footwork as if you were playing for real.
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