Playing a Sport After a Break – How to Ease in Surely and Safely

March 23, 2010 · 1 comment

This is a guest post by Amy S. Cook

I took to tennis in college; for me, it was not just a way to stay fit; it was a welcome break from the monotony of academia and as an added perk, also helped me meet cute guys. I continued to play when I could and although I wanted to be regular, my job and all the frequent traveling prevented me from playing every day. Marriage and setting down roots allowed me to renew my acquaintance with this game I loved so much, so it was with a mix of anxiety and trepidation that I set foot at the local club. Needless to say, I had a disappointing first day – I lacked pretty much everything (skill, fitness, stamina, finesse) except enthusiasm.

And so it was back to the basics for me. I learned that to get back to playing a sport (a little seriously even though it’s not at competitive level) when you’ve been sidelined by the passage of time or an injury, you need to:

  • Start out slowly: Even if you’ve been away from the game (any sport, not just tennis) for just a couple of months, you need to ease back in slowly or you risk injuring yourself. Before you get on court, warm up adequately. Start out with a few basic shots and just hit the ball back and forth until you get your rhythm going. Don’t even think of playing a competitive set because your body and mind are just not up to it yet.
  • Get back to the basics: If you have a trainer or coach, work with them to improve your footwork and your basic shots. If not, try them on your own when you have the court to yourself so that you’re able to get the hang of the game again. You need to move fluidly on court to avoid falls and injuries, so footwork drills are important.
  • Improve your fitness: If you want to play the game seriously and improve your skills, you need to boost your overall fitness and improve your stamina. Cardio exercises like jogging and cycling help you improve your fitness and coordination while strength training exercises like squats and lunges enhance your muscular strength and improve your balance and flexibility on court.
  • Practice regularly: And finally, the more you practice, the more you feel in control of the game. Even if you can’t make it to the court every day, make it a point to stay in touch with the game at least thrice a week so that you don’t become rusty again. Remember, practice is the lifeblood of any sport.

When you follow these measures, you not only improve your game and boost your health, you also avoid accidents and injury.

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{ 1 comment }

Seth@1010in2010 March 23, 2010 at 8:07 am

This is a good post! I saw the post title on my blogroll and thought - how fitting; I fractured a bone in my left ankle Sunday night

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