In light of the United States Tennis Association’s Washington State Open tournament being held at the Seattle Tennis Club July 31-Aug. 5, NW Sports Rehab of Madison Park is providing some helpful tips for the competitors on the last stop on the Northwest Regional.

Tennis tournaments can be long, rigorous and challenging, both mentally and physically. Here are a few practical tips to keep you winning games and advancing to the championship round:

  1. Warmup: Getting your muscles warm before doing explosive movements, such as serving, rallying and volleying, is important to avoid injury.

    Important note: Even though your skin is warm, your muscles may not be. Even if you “feel” good, don’t skimp on your warmup routine (if you don’t have one, consult one of our staff at the NW Sports Rehab tent at the Seattle Tennis Club).

  2. Stretching:Save ‘static’ stretching for after the match.

    Research has shown that doing “static” stretching  —holding a stretch for more than 20 seconds — can decrease a muscle’s peak power output. If you want your explosiveness to be top notch, save the static stretching for after the match; but be sure not to wait too long, as you don’t want your muscles getting cold.

  3. Strengthening: Doing some strengthening movements with stretch bands is a great way to prepare for a match.
    Warm up muscles around joints, such as your shoulder, to prepare for a tennis match. This type of strengthening exercise has been proven to increase muscle strength and coordination when used appropriately. Note: Start with slower moving strengthening exercises before moving on to explosive movements that require high-force requirements of your muscles.

  4. Hydration: Managing your hydration in a tennis tournament is possibly the most important thing you can do if you make it past the first round.
    Drink plenty of water, especially the 2-3 days leading up to the event, as your body takes time to acclimatize to super hydration. Note: Don’t forget to boost your electrolyte intake with fruits and vegetables, as plain water lacks these properties. The day of the event, you will likely need an electrolyte supplement, such as a sports drink.

  5. Nutrition: Get extra electrolytes through your food.
    Most people don’t think of food when it comes to electrolytes, but when it’s hot and you’re playing long and highly competitive tennis matches, you need all the electrolytes you can get.  Try fruits, such as bananas, apples and oranges, which have carbohydrates to replace what you’ve spent on the court. Note: Celery is a veggie naturally higher in sodium, to help you replace what’s lost in sweat. Nuts, such as Brazil nuts, are higher in magnesium, which also help your muscles relax and feel less sore. 

  6. Staying cool: In addition to drinking additional fluids, change how you move.
    Muscles generate the vast majority of body heat. By simply moving slower when you don’t have to move quickly, such as during the match, you can decrease your heat production, lowering the amount of heat you can produce. 

For additional information, see our NW Sports Rehab Recovery Zone at the Washington State Open, which will be expertly staffed by our certified athletic trainers and doctors of chiropractic. 

Good luck to all of the competitors this weekend!