Overcoming injuries…

Getting injured lately?

Since I started playing tennis I had quite a few minor injuries that lasted a few days each. By October I was feeling quite strong and fit. Working out on my agility and quickness three times a week. And then an adductor strain came to last till the end of 2012.

As a youngster I was pretty much prone to injuries. By the age of thirty the percentage has fallen dramatically. So, I kept thinking what are the circumstances I get injured; I drown a few key points that might help you as well stay injury free and healthy as much as possible.

Overtrain – Ok, I’m not going to get in detail on that as you can find some great resources on-line if are interested on the subject. But simply put the term is self-explanatory. So, if you find your self tired day after day, confused, not clear minded and out of focus then you should look after your self.¬†Although not aware if it’s proven I have the feeling that almost unconsciously you might injure your self in order to have a break. And that’s not what you really want. So, watch out the signs.

Warm up – that has to be one of those things I can swear by its’ importance. And that’s how I stretched my adductor muscle up to a second degree strain. One time was enough to learn. Although I used to do warm ups before that, I was running late for a match with a friend. So, I said, what the heck I’ll warm up as I play. My hitting partner miss hit a short ball. With out a thought I reacted to the ball and I run as fast as I could. And that was it. But was it? Not really as I continued running for short balls for the next hour or so. What I was thinking? Well, nothing really. Although the next two months unable to run was enough to rethink my injury prevention practices.

Cool down – again, I can’t stress it enough how important this is. Although not clear to many recreational players, when you start practicing day after day it’s next to impossible to avoid it with out having to deal with¬†DOMS. So, get serious and cool down! As a caviar you’ll get more out of your body at your next practice session.

Stretch – what else can protect you more from a potentially violent stretch during play? Stay loose and increase your elasticity.

Sleep – My body needs recovery. And so are yours. The hours of sleep might vary but if you’re having trouble getting out of bed there is a possibility you don’t get enough of it. Also I have found out that helps me enormously if I take a nap between practice sessions on the days I got more than one on schedule.

Fuel – ok that’s a grey area for me as I’m still working on it and I’ll share more on it as I’m getting it sorted. But as far as I have experienced with healthier options (meaning fruits and vegs mostly) I’ve noticed I can concentrate for longer comparing to when I’m eating poorly. In a week full of nutrients I find my self sharp and energised even when the practice is over. Not to mentions, otherwise I feel mentally exhausted.

So, warm up, cool down, sleep enough, stretch, eat well and enjoy!


Would you trade some fun for some quality?

Ok, this week I was battling to concentrate. My strokes were worst than a week before. Fan was hi, till the last practice of the week. I was overwhelmed and frustrated. My goals seemed to be more and more away and reality questioned.

I tried to be serious at first. No jokes no laughing and chatting around. It didn’t work. Just wasn’t me and I seemed to be down. For the very first time I understood what drives someone to smash his racket to the ground as hard as s/he can.

After almost three hours of practice we were almost off time. I was serving and it was bad. I was throwing the ball towards the empty sky and hitting the ball as empty. It was disastrous. I knew I was going home full of sadness.

Then Paris, my couch, tried to keep me afloat and going. “Do some more..” He said, like he was seeing some sign of improvement. I don’t know why but something clicked in me. I tried to concentrate as hard as I could. For some reason I wanted to prove him right. Success. After 5 minutes I was hitting some of my best serves.

I was definitely wasn’t going home with sadness afterall nor happy. But rather puzzled. What happened? How can I do it again and again on purpose? I kept thinking on that over and over again. I now think the answer lies on the concentration… Easy eh? Yeah, you bet; Easier said than done for sure. I tried to understand my mood and attitude during my previous practice sessions and I came up with these profiles:

I’m having fun! Full of energy, humor and lots of laughs and teasing… What a great way to learn something? It’s seems effortless. Although I find out I can’t control the performance side of it…

Practice? A serious task towards my goals… No small talk between coach and others. Only listening and executing the tasks on hand. Ok, if you’re very serious about a task that only requires repetition, that approach might work. Although can be very strenuous at times.

Concentrate, be there… In that case I try to be kind of emotionless. It’s like meditation. No feelings no reactions. React only to the millisecond of presence. If you hit an ace you would look the same to others as when you double fault.

For me the last one works the best I tend to believe. Not as fun as the first one described but at least more performance oriented. For the next week I’ll try to be as fun and light when time allows. Mostly on brakes. Ok, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop teasing my coach as that is part of my personality. But rather, I’ll try to be there and aware when the ball is on play.