Tennis is a popular and challenging sport that requires a player to have athletic skills in endurance, speed, and strength. Because of the tournament-based nature of tennis, many tennis injuries are the result of overuse.
Tennis requires full body strength, agility, and core stability. The striking of the ball uses strength starting from the legs/hips, through the core, to the forearm/wrist.
Core stability is needed to help transfer the force produced to the ball as well as assist in decelerating your body to prevent over-rotation. Core training should consist of various core exercises, with a focus on rotational exercises such as lifts and chops.
The rotator cuff is imperative to strengthen to improve performance and decrease the chance of injury. In the off-season, rotator cuff training should be performed 3-4 times a week and consist of internal and external rotation of the shoulder at multiple angles and tempos.
Key Points for cardio:
Training should consist of lateral and linear agility. Ladders, cones, and dots drills are excellent to improve agility.
Agility drills can be performed multiple times in the off-season and taper the amount during the season.
To help prevent injury, make sure you practice these general safety tips:
Warm up and stretch before and after you play.
Review hitting technique with a coach or trainer to make sure you don’t develop bad habits that could lead to injury.
Use properly fitting equipment, specifically shoes and racquet.
Increase frequency, duration, and difficulty of training slowly to avoid overuse injuries.
Always wear sunscreen to protect your skin and drink water to stay hydrated.
Participate in a conditioning course to strengthen your muscles, particularly your core, back, and shoulders, to help prevent injury.
Consult with your coach or athletic trainer about ways to prevent overuse injuries like tendonitis and stress fractures.
Have a physical examination at the start of the season to make sure you’re healthy to play.
Back, Neck & Spine
• Low back pain
Arm & Elbow
• Tennis Elbow
• Labral tear
Hand & Wrist
• Wrist strain
Leg & Knee
• Patellar tendonitis
The rate of tennis injury in the general population is 5 injuries per 1,000 hours athletic exposure1
The lower extremity is the most frequently injured region in tennis players, ranging from 39-65% of tennis injuries, followed by 24-46% upper extremity injuries2
Lower limb (ankle, knee, and thigh) injuries are caused by the sprinting, stopping, pivoting and pounding nature of tennis1
Upper limb (elbow, shoulder, wrist) injuries are usually caused by the high-velocity and repetitive arm movements required in tennis1
Two-thirds of tennis injuries result from overuse; the other one-third is due to a traumatic injury or acute event3
Overuse injuries most frequently occur in the shoulders, wrists, and elbows3
Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have any type of persistent pain, be sure to see a doctor.
1 “Tennis Fact Sheet,” Sports Medicine Australia.
2 “Common Injuries in Tennis Players: Exercises to Address Muscular Imbalances and Reduce Injury Risk,” Todd S. Ellenbecker et. al.
3 “Tennis Injury Prevention,” STOP Sports Injuries.