Tennis safety tip Proper tennis techniques protect you from injury on the court. Keeping your body balanced at all times prevents falls and helps you avoid overuse injuries. For example, bend your knees but keep your back straight on overhead shots, and bend your elbow when hitting a forehand to reduce shoulder stress. Remember that backhand swings begin at the shoulder, not the elbow. A general warm-up is always a good idea before exercising. Take a brisk walk, perform range-of-motion stretches or do some jumping jacks before you start playing tennis. How to prevent injuries while playing tennis Preventing tennis injuries requires just a few simple techniques that can be worked into any tennis player’s training routine. Following these tips will significantly reduce the risk of injury: Stretch: Flexibility is important to every tennis player’s performance, and it is often overlooked. Stretch before and after every practice and game. Here are some examples: Cross-Shoulder Stretch Place one arm across your body, and then hold it in place with your other arm. This stretch loosens up your shoulder, and gets you ready for practice. The longer you hold, the deeper and more effective the stretch! Tennis Elbow Stretch Extend your arm in front of you and point your fingers down, pulling the hand towards your body with your opposite hand. This stretch releases tension in tendons and ligaments in your elbow and prepares it for your set-winning backhand. Train Off the Court: Many tennis players, and athletes in general, believe that the exercise and skills they are practicing on the court are sufficient to reach their top performance. In reality, without training off the court, many tennis players cannot become well-rounded, strong athletes, which could result in major injuries during a game. **Tip: Functional movement training, which includes lunging, sprinting, and weight transfer, and balance training are important types of conditioning that players should engage in outside of tennis. This training will help their footwork, core rotation, and ability to reach for tennis balls coming their way. Pick the Right Racquet and Shoes: Injuries in tennis are commonly caused by not using the correct equipment. If a tennis player’s racquet does not have the correct grip or the strings are too tight, tennis elbow, among other injuries, could result. Shereen Tan, Clinical Director in Chelsea and Certified Hand Therapist, advises players to “choose a grip size/racket that is comfortable. A grip that is too large will force you to squeeze the racket more tightly and tire your arm. At the opposite extreme, a small grip may cause you to whip the racket and eventually cause arm or elbow problems. Always give your racket a test run prior to playing a full match.” Additionally, many players avoid buying tennis shoes, and use running shoes as an alternative. Tennis players need a shoe that supports the foot during the quick side-to-side movements or shifts in weight associated with the game. Buy a shoe that provides stability on the inside and outside of the foot and has ample flexibility in the sole beneath the ball of the foot..