If you are the tennis player who loves the game and constantly strives for improvement, this book is for you. You may play tennis to remain fit, and maybe not realize that you need to become fit to play good tennis. Improving your fitness is as important—if not more—as working on your tennis game. As you strive for improvement and increase your playing frequency, it is very common that you strain a muscle or experience daily aches and pains in different areas of your body, and they tend to move around. When the achy knee is good again, then there is your hip hurting. In a few weeks, the hip is good, and you feel tennis elbow… sounds familiar?
There are many great books on tennis conditioning on the market. Some are more scientific than others, and each one has a value to add into your tennis conditioning. So what is different about this book? It is not an exercise book, or stretching book, or a conditioning book per se, even though it contains all of that. The main idea of this book is to create an awareness of your body and to learn how to listen what your body is telling you. Playing tennis is harsh on your muscular-skeletal system and every tennis player develops overuse injuries eventually. These injuries are preventable if you learn to listen to your body.
Awareness is your first step to be able to correct your problems and to improve. If you don’t know what is going on, then you cannot know what to do to become better. For example, if you were aware that your future Achilles problem is forming right now, because your opposite hip and glute are not engaging properly and functionally, then you could correct the problem immediately, and as a result, you will prevent the future Achilles problem. These small dysfunctions and imbalances are easy to ignore, because most of the time you don’t even know about them, until it is too late. However, if you are aware and if you talk to your body and listen what it is answering you back, you will be a master of your own health, which will enable you to play pain-free tennis on high levels.
The older you are, the more accumulated imbalances you have in your body, which means less functional joints and muscle groups. Once you are injured, it takes a lot of effort to get yourself back to balance. You may get chronic lower back problems, sciatica issues, worn cartilage in your knees, impinged nerve in your shoulder, and in the worst case you may need a knee or hip replacement surgery. All this is preventable if you start listening to your body now. You will avoid future doctor appointments, chiropractic treatments, and physical therapy that cost a lot of money and lost time from your training, causing a serious de-conditioning.
You may think, “Yeah, I am listening to my body, but it is not saying anything.” To tell the truth, your body is talking to you all the time, you are just not used to understanding its language. In the beginning on your journey to awareness of your body, you may not be able to feel anything other than that your legs are sore or your lower back tight. With regular practice and introspection, you will become aware of more subtle signs, such as a few trigger points in your glutes that start causing issues in your opposite knee or ankle. At this state of awareness, you can prevent any issue before it happens. Develop a habit of always “searching” your body, touching and pushing and squeezing your muscles, looking for tender points and tightness that is felt only on deeper levels. That is your body talking to you, and this book will help you to understand. You will learn basic series of stretches, strengthening exercises, myofascial release, and much more. The exercises will not just tell you what to do and how—anybody can tell you that. They will explain the meaning behind their value and importance. You will learn the meaning of balance in your body, the interaction between the muscle groups and joints, and how everything is connected. The goal of this book is to teach you the basic awareness of your body, so you can always catch and correct a developing problem that would show several months or even years later.
The younger you are the better chance you have to be completely injury free for the rest of your life with not too much effort. We are talking about chronic and overuse injuries, because acute injuries can happen—you may lose your concentration for a moment and step on the ball and twist your ankle. If you are a little bit older, then you may have created some issues in your body by now and you will need to work harder to get yourself back to a balanced and “young” state. However, it is very possible, and this book will guide you. If you are already messed up a lot, you still have a chance to get yourself better and to get rid of your chronic problems. It will take a serious commitment and a lot of work. However, knowing that it is possible, should encourage you to be patient and persistent. Everything is possible if you commit to it. The human body is amazing and it wants to live and be healthy, if we do not ruin it with our habits, lifestyle, and non-awareness. This book will teach you how to become one with your body and become healthy and fit for many long years ahead.
Commit to your body. Learn to be aware. Observe the changes that your body goes through as you perform the exercises and learn how your body responds. Listen to it and get in harmony with it. You are the best healer and trainer of your own body. Practice daily all the elements necessary, and see how your new improved fitness will raise the level of your tennis game.