Yoga for Tennis
According to English, yoga can also strengthen a tennis player's injury-prone joints. "Tennis players often have problems with their knees, ankles, shoulders, hips, and wrists, so they really need to spend some time on those areas to get the tension out."
This means that you'll be more likely to keep on truckin' if you practice your poses off the court. While tennis players are often considered over-the-hill at age 30, English has found that older athletes are able to continue when they add yoga to their mix.
"What I've found is that older people with knee and shoulder problems are still able to play if they do yoga, when otherwise their injuries would have kept them out of the game," he says. "I have a 44-year-old client who is hitting the ball extremely hard now. I've noticed it with myself, too. I'm 35, and I don't even feel like I've reached my prime yet. I feel like I'm getting better!"
Marcovicci has found that most players are in the game for the long run. Therefore, "they want to keep their bodies supple and flexible, which is a key in longevity, and yoga can help them achieve this," he says. "Yoga and tennis go hand-in-hand, because your body takes a beating from tennis."
You may not think flexibility matters much on the court—after all, you don't exactly need to perform the splits in order to serve a point. But, as Gray explains, "Flexibility is one of the most important things in tennis. When you look at top athletes, they have to leverage their bodies every square inch to reach a ball, and they have such spinal arch when they're serving. Yoga can help them achieve this."
Brooklyn, New York-based freelance writer Megan McMorris does yoga once a week to strengthen her game of choice: running. Her articles have appeared in Fitness, Self, Sports Illustrated for Women, Glamour, and Teen People.
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