Get set: how can massage benefit tennis players?

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Tennis players at any level can benefit from incorporating massage into their routine. Indeed, both professional and amateur players rely on massage therapy to keep them relaxed, focused and on the ball!

Here’s our expert guide to how massage can help tennis players get the most out of their training program.

The main areas of the body utilised during a game of tennis are:

  • Shoulder/Rotator Cuffs
  • Ankle and lower leg
  • Elbow
  • Back
  • Knee
  • Arm (particularly the biceps)

What are the most common tennis injuries?

There are several types of injuries that are commonly found amongst tennis players, most of which are caused by repetitive movement or strain.

These include:

  • Tennis elbow: otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, this is caused by overstretching during the swing motion
  • Golfer’s elbow: or medial epicondylitis, this describes tenderness in the tendons connecting the forearm and the elbow
  • Ankle sprains: caused by trips or twists while running
  • Jumper’s knee: results from high impact pressure, due to jumping or running
  • Back pain: often related to poor technique when bending over
  • Shoulder injuries: rotator cuff tears can be caused and exacerbated by a variety of shot motions
  • Muscle tightness: can be anywhere in the body, as a result of challenging training practices
  • Muscle fatigue: again this can be felt anywhere in the body as a result of intensive training
  • Pulled muscles: likely felt in the biceps, or any other major muscle group
  • Slips and falls: these can lead to various aches and pains in the area of impact

Certain types of injuries may be exacerbated by the surface of the court. For example, lawns are softer than hard court, so players may be less likely to experience injuries caused by heavy impact. Playing on a clay court may also reduce the likelihood of injury, as increased slide means that payers don’t twist and turn as much, and (slightly) slower ball speed could decrease the risk of jerking movements.

What are the benefits of massage for tennis players?

Massage is a complementary therapy, which can provide support for many different types of tennis training, as well as aiding recovery in the case of tennis injuries.

Main benefits include:

  • Reducing muscle fatigue in order to aid recovery time.
  • Promoting deep relaxation following periods of high exertion.
  • Encouraging the healing of soft tissue in cases of tendonitis, pulled muscles and knee injuries.

When is the best time to have a massage?

If you are considering using massage therapy to accompany your tennis playing, you should think about the following:

  • Plan a Relaxation Massage directly following a match or competition to kick-start recovery and reduce fatigue.
  • If you are injured you may be experiencing swelling, redness or pain. Be sure to wait 48 hours for the swelling to subside before trying a Deep Tissue or Sports Massage.
  • If you are a recreational tennis player, think about starting with a Relaxation Massage to soothe and lengthen your tired biceps and leg muscles.
  • In the case of a chronic or repeated injury, we recommend booking an appointment with a Sports Massage therapist so that they can give targeted advice concerning healing and prevention in the future.

How can I incorporate massage into my training routine?

If you have never used massage as part of a training routine before, think about starting with one or two sessions per month, ideally after your exercise. If you have recently experienced a soft tissue or muscular injury, it may be worth booking a Sports Massage therapist and taking their advice on what sort of program to follow.

If you’re training for a competition, or your regular training is becoming more intense, frequent massages can help to guard against future injury and reduce post-event recovery time.

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