Tennis Identity

When heat cramps your style on court. 6 tips for your game.

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By now, everyone has seen or heard about the debilitating cramps that struck Peng Shuai Friday at the US Open, forcing her to retire from her semifinal match with Caroline Wozniacki.  A recap:

 

Cramps can be very serious and should not be taken lightly. Ask Andy Murray about his USO Day 1 bout with them. 

Pawel Wawrzyniak, Physical Therapist at the Hospital of Special Surgery in NYC offers these 6 tips on how to keep cramping risks to a minimum:

  1. During tournaments that take place over consecutive days, it is essential that the player rehydrate during and after every match to avoid the cumulative loss of sodium that can happen through sweating. Electrolytes are particularly beneficial to take in and are commonly contained in sports drinks or in electrolyte tablets that can be easily mixed with water.
  2. Improve physical conditioning to decrease muscle fatigue during the latter parts of the tennis match.
  3. If possible the player should play practice matches in hot and humid conditions to acclimate.
  4. Perform a proper warm-up and dynamic stretching to decrease muscle tension. 
  5. Perform static stretching after the match and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.  If it’s available at tournament site, 5-10 minutes on stationary bike after a match can help with muscle tension in the legs.
  6. Apply ice over sore muscles after a match and use a foam roller to massage and relieve muscle tension, particularly in the calves, quads and hamstrings.