Over the years, working with some of the world’s top players, as well as thousands of amateurs, it has been proven that a brief warm up before your start playing pays immeasurable dividends. This warm up routine targets athletic movement as well as range of motion activities for your joints. I
Below is an example of a simple pre-match routine.
Giant arm circles, both forward and backward with 10 repetitions in each direction.
Take a tennis ball and using a overhead throwing motion, throw the ball at a fence (20 feet away or closer) with an easy, fluid throw. Make sure you are utilizing your entire body in the throwing motion. Step with the opposite foot in the direction of the throw, allowing your hips, trunk and shoulders to rotate.
Face a section of a fence, hold on with both hands at about shoulder height and at arms length away and begin a series of toe in and toe out hip swings. Place your right leg out in front with your knee straight, and swing your leg across your body allowing your leg to rotate so your right foot is pointing left, now swing your leg back across and to the right allowing your leg to rotate so your foot is pointing right. Make sure the motion is free and occurring at the hip joint. Perform 10 repetitions with each leg.
Starting at the baseline, jog forward to the net. Turn and face the right sideline and do carioca dance steps to the baseline. Turn and face the left sideline and repeat the carioca footwork to the net. Make sure you are utilizing horizontal trunk and rotating your arms.
Turn and face the net, jog backwards to the baseline, maintaining good balance while pumping your arms. Skip forward to the net, turn around and skip to the baseline. Focus on bringing your knees up high and moving hands in a rhythmic motion.
Gary Kitchell is a sports specific physical therapist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a USPTA teaching professional. He has worked with 15 former number No. 1 players including John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. Learn more at kitchtennisrx.com.