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Player to Player: Playing Another Sport

Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For, and Offering, Advice on the Sport They Love

Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.

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SEND YOUR TIPS TODAY

This week's question from Skip:

"A year ago, I pulled my Achilles Tendon while playing in a local tournament. I didn't feel any pain until the matches were done and was walking off the court. The pain got worse, I iced it and babied it thinking I would be fine in a week and would be able to play in my Monday night match. I kept trying to play, but the injury only got worse again. I saw a sports doctor. He advised ice, and just be patient. It is now almost 1 year later and I finally feel no pain, but I had to completely stop playing. How frustrating! Any ideas for this injury?"

Please share your thoughts with Skip by e-mailing Player@USTA.comand include your name and hometown.

Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!

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READ OTHER PLAYERS' ADVICE
Last week’s question from Natasha:
(Please note: There's no need to send additional responses to this question)


"I love to play tennis and it is my favorite sport but I also play other sports, do you think that when I play other sports, I will lose my ability to play tennis?"


PLAYER RESPONSES:

From John M., Reading, PA:

I have been in a similar situation, and the only way playing other sports affects my game is whatever time I spend playing another sport is not time spent on the tennis court. During the "off season" of tennis, or "on season" of the other sport, it of coarse can be hard to find time to get on a court. So unless the other sport you play leaves you with lasting injuries or muscle-boundness, the only affect the others should have is lack of time for tennis itself.

And if the other sports do not take up an enormous amount of time, just find yourself a partner (or a wall at least) and get your racquet on the ball every once in a while to keep yourself in practice, because it is very difficult and frustrating to come back to tennis after a long time to realize that the weapon you made of your forehand is not what it used to be and your backhand barely crosses the net, let alone the service line.

From John F., Oceanside, CA:

Playing most sports will compliment tennis. The exceptions: handball and racket ball, or any sport that uses the wrist extensively. In tennis the wrist is used very little and judiciously.

From Jose C., Miami Lakes, FL:

My advice is it all depends in which way you are looking at your tennis game. Do you just play for fun or do you play competitive? If you play tennis for fun, then you should not have any problem playing other sports because you would not have to worry about injuries, being a little too tired to play, not getting enough playing time on the tennis court, etc.; but if you do take tennis a little bit more serious, then it will probably be an issue due to the fact that tennis could be an unforgiving game and you must dedicate as much time as possible in order to play an effective game. Tennis is a beautiful sport and whether winning or losing, you want to come out of the court feeling good about your game. Just my humble advice.

From Kai H., Lake Balboa, CA:

Playing other sports can do wonders for your tennis game! I recommend soccer to help you with your footwork. A few of the boys on the tennis team I coach are soccer players and they are by far the most athletic and can cover the entire court with ease. They are very quick on their feet and are the best all court players I've seen.

I also recommend swimming. Swimmers have some of the best cardiovascular health and stamina of any athlete. It's also great because it gives your knees and ankles a break from all of the wear and tear that tennis can put on them.

Golf will be great for your mental game as well. Learning to have narrow focus while playing can only benefit your ability to keep your focus on the ball. In both golf and tennis, it is crucial to be able to stay on task and not be distracted by the numerous things around you (i.e. other people, random sounds, the sun, the wind, etc.).

Finally, you've got to mix in some yoga. Nothing is better for a tennis player than yoga. You need to be very flexible and limber in order to get to the ball sometimes. Also, being flexible will greatly lower your risk for injury.

Overall, choosing the right combination of sports to get in shape/stay in shape will make you a better tennis player in the long run. Just remember to get some rest in there, too. Nothing will hurt your tennis game more than being burnt out! Good luck!

From Nancy, Lexington, KY:

I am a tennis addict who plays only tennis. However, I have friends who play or have played other sports. My experience through them is that some other sports are wonderful for your tennis game, others may not be as good. Footwork on the court is especially good in those who have played soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, some dance, etc. Other sports can be great for serve, i.e. baseball. I have friends who play racquetball who have problems not being too "wristy" on shots when they resume tennis. I have friends who have played competitive basketball who have trouble learning to turn their shoulders enough on their tennis shots (never having played basketball, I'm not sure why), but their footwork is otherwise wonderful.

So I think it depends on you and your abilities and what you hope to get out of that particular sport. You can always involve your pro/parents/teammates in helping you decide if you're getting benefit from the other sport. If you are a junior player, I think playing another sport may keep you from getting bored with tennis, and prevent some overuse injuries.

From Coach Poppie, Palm Bay, FL:

Natasha, by all means, PLAY. Play whatever you what. Have fun and enjoy an active sports life. After all most of us, that “Play Tennis,” do just that - PLAY. We’re not playing tournaments for the money or working on our world ranking ect… We play for the fun of play. Besides, active participation in other sports many times is helpful to your eye to hand coordination, timing, balance, and agility. You get to increase your circle of friends. So swim, go bowling, play cricket if you like. Just enjoy what you are doing. Get out, Be Happy.

From TJ, Medina, OH:

I don’t think playing other sports can hurt your tennis game. Unless you are playing rugby. In fact, sports like basketball will only help your footwork. If you get caught up in being too serious about tennis, you will lose all the fun. I would play as many other sports as you want to.

*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.

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