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Tennis Anyone
December 2005 Article

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How is your Posture?

John Mills Photo
John Mills, USPTA

Good Posture on the tennis court is just as important as your posture in your normal day-to-day activities. Consider how you feel if you work in the garden too long lifting and pulling, or if your body reacts to the discomfort of a long car or plane trip.

Here are some tips to help you maintain good posture on the tennis courts:

  • The human head weighs approximately eight pounds. It doesn't sound like much, but because it is at the top of your body it is very easy to be off balance. Keep your head still as much as possible. Hold your eyes and head still as if you are holding a camera still so as to not blur the picture.

  • Bending over can kill your back. Don't bend over at the waist; bend down using your legs, quadriceps, to lower yourself. Lift the ball over the net with your legs.

  • Large lunging steps can throw you off balance and possibly cause muscle pulls, such as the inner thigh or hamstring. Take more and smaller steps to get to the ball. This will cause less shock on your back and lower body.

  • Avoid gyrating movements in the warm-up and try to limit them in the match. Warm up slowly. Do more as your body warms.

  • Take the bend out of your back on your serve. Bend by using your knees. Your knees can handle more punishment than your back. Do not copy some pro that has a huge back bend in his serve. He is conditioned for that. It will set you up for disaster. Look at the figure on the next trophy that you win, look at the knees, that's what you want to look like.

  • Do not be tense. Relax! Breathe and let your body perform in a comfortable way. Keep your breathing regulated, keep your neck and shoulders relaxed and practice not gripping your racquet so tightly.

  • Do not rest on your heels. Keep your weight a little forward, like a sprinter or short stop. Tennis is about sprinting. Holding your weight on your heels will cause inefficient backward waving of your head and upper body as you try to move forward.

  • Do not let your stance get too large. Players with too large a stance have a difficult time getting off the ground and have difficulty starting to the ball fast. Keep your feet more under your hips.

  • Do not be mechanical. Work on your shots until they are more fluid and relaxed. Use your legs and hips more on your ground strokes.

Be aware of your posture on and off the courts.

Good luck on the courts!

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


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