Professional tennis players have a winter break before starting the new season in Australia. For most, the time off is needed to rest and regenerate after a tough and grueling season. For the rest of us, the winter months mean a little less tennis and a little more holiday cheer.
Itís not that hard to get back into the swing of things after a long layoff and several family events where itís considered an insult not to have a second piece of pie with ice cream. The key is not to overdo it the first few times out. Plan ahead and take it slow to get back to the form you had last Fall.
Get on the treadmill or take a brisk walk. Footwork is most important on the tennis court and if youíve been sedentary for even a week or two youíll notice a big difference. Start out just moving and work up to increasing your heart rate.
How many of us have lived through tennis elbow and tendonitis in other places. The best way to prevent injury is to strengthen your muscles, and especially your core. It doesnít mean you have to bench press with the weightlifters, but try lifting 2-5 pound weights and increase your repetitions.
The beginning of a new tennis year is the perfect time to look over your racquet for any chips or cracks that may hinder performance. You should also make sure your strings arenít fraying and that you still have good tread on your shoes. This is also a great time to switch racquets if youíve been thinking about it.
Strokes and Timing
The first thing to go, after foot speed and conditioning, is your timing. You may swing at a ball with expectations that itís going to be a winner only to find that you shanked it over the fence. When youíre just getting back into the swing of things you need to hit a lot of balls. Repetition will bring your stroke mechanics back in line and fine tune your timing.
There is no substitute for playing tennis matches. You can practice all you want, even play practice sets, but itís not the same as being in a match situation. Once youíre spend a week or two getting back into the swing of things, start setting up matches with people of different skill levels. Work on shot selection and taking chances at the right time.
Following the steps above will get you back into competitive tennis condition and ready to start off a new season.
Have fun on the courts!