Falling During a Tennis Match Can be Fatal!

Agassi – Federer Tennis Match – video powered by Metacafe

Well…if you are playing on this court maybe. How amazing is that? I think I would be playing up by the net most of the match!

But seriously, coordination, balance and footwork are integral components to a complete tennis training program. One of the biggest mistakes that I see in tennis training is that complex patterns of footwork are introduced too early. The emphasis is on quantity and speed, not as much quality. It really matters “how well” someone does something, not just if they can. Many tennis players that I see have very tight calves and do not warm-up are prepare for their matches or practices properly. They end up playing either on their “tippy toes” or flat footed because their ankles don’t move well. From their they are prone to ankle sprains or coming up short on balls they are trying to track down. Then often I just see the coach/trainer/pro just have them perform footwork patterns or drills again and again. Repetition is the mother of skill, but if the skill is built off of a faulty movement because the ankle joint can not move like it should, then something is going to give sooner or later. Sometimes it is an ankle sprain other times it might be knee tendinitis or back pain. Remember the entire body is connected.

Most pre-adolescent and adolescent tennis players I see average about 6 degrees of ankle dorsiflexion.

so imagine the front foot in this picture moving up towards this person’s nose (as they are lying on a treatment table). That is basically dorsiflexion. Ideally we have 15-20 degrees of dorsiflexion…and I measure 6 on average with my young athletes….this is a problem. Poor posture, growth spurts, less than ideal shoes, too much tennis and not enough stretching can lead to this situation. Foam rolling and static stretching need to be part of a daily routine for athletes. Particularly the calve complex.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Eric Beard

Corrective Exercise Specialist

Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist



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