Tennis Identity

TennisIdentity Profile: Clay Sniteman ATP Trainer on Tour

Clay Sniteman US Open Day7 Clay Sniteman M.S., P.T., ATC, is a Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer for the ATP World Tour. He also runs a private PT business, Sundance PT in Utah. If you watch tennis you've probably caught a glimpse of him on court when a player needs assistance with an injury. Sniteman is one of the ATP's seven staff trainers covering twenty-two tournaments worldwide annually. I caught up with him recently while in New York:

What kinds of injuries do you see the most on the ATP tour?

There are always multiple shoulder issues and back injuries because of the rotational motion but we see and care for everything, knees, hips, elbows. The surface can make a difference in the types of injuries. Clay and grass mean more knee issues. Altitude and temperature changes can cause elbow issues. There are a lot of factors involved. There are also unexpected things from calf strains to waking up with a stiff neck. We are always busy.

How and when do you get involved with a player?

We [the other ATP trainers] are always in touch with each other and if a player is coming from one tournament with an injury we know what they are going to need before they come in. We work with players before, during and after a tournament at the event location, making sure all of their needs are met.

Pilot Pen New Haven 2010 036 Where do you work at a tournament?

There is a training room at every tournament – a designated spot to work but I'm on court with the backpack too. Some facilities have more amenities than others. If there isn't space at a smaller event, we bring something in.

What types of treatments are you using to keep players comfortable while they play with injuries?

It really depends on what the player wants. Some players travel with their own trainers and I don't get involved. Some have a particular treatment they like and ask for it. Ice, massage, continued rehab…it's all part of it.

I'm seeing more and more tape on the tour players. Is this something you are using a lot more of now?

KT Tape on player We still use stiff white athletic tape on ankles, where we want to restrict a motion. Kinesiology tape is diffferent however, and that's what you are seeing. It has become very popular because it is lightweight and can be used on multiple joints, adhering well and staying put through heavy sweating. I like KT Tape Pro as it is 25% stickier than the other brands out there. What we are doing with it is taking pressure off of specific muscle or joint so motion is pain free.

Isn't is bad to mask pain?

Pain meds mask biomechanical issues and the pain caused by them. We're not masking pain, we are preventing it. If you can put a joint into a position where it should be, so it's not grinding on a bone, for example, the player can continue to play at their highest level.

Clay Sniteman

8 thoughts on “TennisIdentity Profile: Clay Sniteman ATP Trainer on Tour”

  1. This is program a good become a certified Athletic trainer. I thought it would be cool to be a trainer for the ATP or at other pro tennis tournaments. Thanks if anyone knows any info!

  2. Great write up — as usual. But Mizz Savannah I am encxptieg something from The Williams sisters — Serena at least. History tell us that. I don’t think they’ll win the title, but they will show. They are uber professional and will come to win. And they’re games have still not been eclipsed by any woman on the tour. Just excited to see both of them playing.

  3. … Though I’m often turned off by his on-court peaionrlsty, I’m loving the resurgent Andy- started over a year ago, and the media that once made Andy their darling now seems to be willfully ignoring the fact that Andy is an elite player again. Thu May 28, 03:44:00 PM======because the media does what it does best+ “notice” things EONS LATER than fans notice!!the media doesn’t REPORT — it PROMOTES — whatever or whomever is its “darling”. roflmao!!

  4. This kind of job would be nice because you are definitely helping others which is very satisfying. Being a tennis player as well would be great because you would pick up so much good information just being around the elite players all day, so your game would improve without a doubt as well. Thanks for sharing because it was fun to read. David

  5. Adam Tyson, ATC athletic trainer with USTA currently in Calabasas for Futures event. Trying to get cell/email for clay.

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