Racquet sports test a player’s speed, agility and skill and is for anyone of any age. Racquet sports consist of tennis, squash, racquetball, badminton, paddle tennis, and more.
While racquet sports aren’t as injury heavy as some other sports, the sport can still be dangerous if you’re older, or don’t know how to play properly. With anything, you can reduce your chances of injury by taking certain precaution, which we’ll be discussing.
The AAP, or American Academy of Pediatrics, has a guide on how to prevent injuries from racquets sports. They do this by giving you a guide on how to pick a racquet that’s right for you, as well as a walkthrough of the various injuries that are common in racquet sports.
Picking a Racquet
Not all racquets are created equal. The size of the handgrip, the head’s size, and other factors are essential when determining the racquet that’s right for you.
First, we’ll look at the head size, which is the area where you’ll be hitting. From childhood to adulthood, the size of the head will differ.
21 inches are recommended for children ages 4-6. Five to eight year olds need to have a head that’s 23-25 inches. Children 8-11 should have a racquet that’s between 25and 26 inches. Finally, people over 11 need a head that’s 27-29 inches.
As for the size of your handgrip, it will differ as well. The size of the handgrip is between three to five inches, and will be measured every eighth an inch.The way you can figure out the size that is right for you is to go from your ring finger’s tip to the final crease of your palmer. Think about shaking a hand with the racquet. The thumb and your second digit should fit a single finger breadth.
Now then, the handgrip size you need will depend on your age and sex. If you’re between a size, use a smaller grip and add on to it.A child should have a racquet grip under four inches. An adult woman should have one between 4 1/8 and 4 3/8 inches. An adult man should have one between 4 ½ and 4 3/4.
For the string tension, you should keep in mind that the more tension you have, the more power you have, sacrificing control.Lower tension is the opposite, giving you more control but being less powerful. The typical string tension is between 55-65 lbs.
Any athlete should have a physical exam before they participate in tennis. This is usually done via a PPE, or preparticipation physical evaluation. You should do a PPE about a month before tennis season, and you need to see your doctor every so often for a checkup.
For an athlete, this should be common sense but it’s worth noting to keep a good fitness level regardless of the season. Before the season, training will keep your body in check and is a good time for conditioning. Also, don’t forget to warm up and cool down while doing exercises.
You should be well-trained in the different techniques of racquet sports that are important to the game. You should never hit the ball too late, serve behind the head, or avoid full elbow extension when you do a backhand and a forehand.
An improper technique could lead to injuries. As always, talk to a pro to learn how to do a technique properly. As for training, do not intensify your training by more than ten percent.For example, if you are playing 10 hours every week, you should probably bump that up to 11. If you do 20 hours, it could be too much on your body.
Do proper exercises, too. Athletes, especially those who are young, have weak leg, shoulder or trunk muscles, and you should exercise all those groups to keep them strong. Other times, your hips, hamstrings, or shoulders may need work.
As usual, talk to a professional to see what muscles you need to improve, and to learn what exercises will be good for said muscles.
Get the right equipment too. If you need goggles for your sports they should be made from polycarbonate. There is similar material you can use as well. Just look at the ASTM, or American Society for Testing and Materials, and see what their standards are.
Go for proper sun protection as well. Get sunscreen, lip balm, and anything else you can use to protect yourself from harmful rays.
As for the environment itself, if you usually play on clay or grass surfaces you should make the change gradually if you want to play on a harder surface. Play for 10 hours every week on soft surfaces, and then put an hour for the hard surfaces. Whenever you are done playing, make sure to pick up your balls.
If you a lot of overheads or serves during a small period of time, you may be prone to a shoulder injury, which will lower your muscle’s functions. To treat it, you must strengthen your shoulder muscles. If your shoulder is hurting, don’t do any serving or overheads until you work those muscles.
Stretching, avoiding hurtful activities until you’re better and ice are some ways to treat elbow injuries which tend to be caused whenever you do a motion that’s topspin. It’s mostly an adult injuries, but it can happen in teens and children as well.
If you hit the ball too late, change your grip constantly or do ground strokes it is possible to injure your wrist, which can hurt your range. To treat wrist injuries, use the RICE technique. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If your wrist is still in pain see a doctor.
Lower Back Injuries
Whenever you serve too much, or do too many overheads at a time, you may get a stress fracture on your lower spine’s bones. You’ll feel lower back pain that seems to get worse whenever you do back bends. To remedy this, rest, do physical therapy that makes you more flexible, and do lower back workouts.
A back brace may be needed, too. If your back is still hurt after a few weeks, see your doctor. Early recognition is important in treating back pain, so get on it if you suspect anything.
Groin and Hip
When you are playing tennis, you may get injuries to your hip and groin. See, you’re usually doing changes in direction that are side-to-side, and this can hurt your muscles or pull them away from your bone, causing avulsion fractures.
An x-ray may be needed if you’re limping, or hearing your body pop. Swelling is also a sign you need to see a doctor. Strengthen your hips, do exercises in flexibility, and do RICE to treat it.
If you’re sweating too much, and are fatigued you may get muscle cramps. If you have any signs of heat exhaustion, you should be taken to a cool place and go to an emergency room as soon as possible.
You can prevent heat injuries by getting used to being out in the heat as well as staying hydrated constantly. Avoid caffeine before you work out too.
When you’re doing a racquet sport, you may experience sprains in your ankles, which may prevent you from playing altogether. To avoid this tragedy, don’t do quick changes in direction that are side to side.
This will cause an inverted ankle, and if you’ve had a sprain recently, you have a high chance of doing it again. RICE is the best way to treat it. If the injury is too bad, you may want to see a doctor, especially if you can’t even walk.
Ice your injuries for 20 minutes to help lower the swelling. Whenever you have an injury, doing exercises can help you strengthen your body and get back to playing. Ankle braces and tape can also prevent any ankle injuries. If you do have an ankle injury, do not return to the game right away or you may get a worse injury.
If you’re playing a racquet sport, especially racquetball or squash, you may be prone to an eye injury! If the ball hits you in the eye, you could get a serious injury that may lead to blindness. See a doctor right away. Players especially children should wear eye protection when playing a game.
Any sports game may injure you if you’re not careful. But as long as you follow the rules, exercise properly, and take the necessary precautions, you should be fine. So get out there and play!