As of this writing I am heading out on the U.S. Open shuttle to our night match which probably will be delayed due to rain earlier in the day. It is a perfect time to reflect on what I said in an earlier post card regarding timing. It does not always work the way it was intended.
The same can be said about playing sports like tennis in a pain-free setting. Most tennis-related injuries are classified as overuse injuries causing micro trauma to the muscles and joints most often challenged by the demands of the game.
Those primary areas include the shoulder (impingement syndrome), elbows (tennis elbow), knees( patella tendinitis) and to a lesser degree the lumbar spine (back spasms), and the ankles (high ankle sprains). Performing at a consistently high level requires a prehab (prehabilitation) program to head off trouble before it can and will effect the quality of performance.
Recently, Rafael Nadal was sidelined for what appears to be at least two months with a partially torn patella tendon. The key to a good prehab program is one that will be able to address the specific muscle group or joints at risk and be able to be accomplished in small areas such as the tournament fitness center where you may be around 125 of your competitors trying to do the same thing. I kid you not. At the beginning of a Slam, the on-site fitness center is jammed with players, coaches and trainers all either trying to warm up, cool down, or exercise their respective athlete.
Toward the end of a Slam, the fitness room is a ghost town, housing a handful of people. By the way, you may be warming up and cooling down with your opponent that day. Not sure that would work in pro boxing.
Well, we have arrived and are going through security. Tomorrow, the pregame meal if you can ever find out when the match starts.
- Mackie Shilstone
Executive director of the Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital and fitness coach to Serena Williams.