New England

COVID-19 Quarantine Can Improve Your Tennis

Christine Gaspar, USTA New England Special Contributor | April 10, 2020

5 Ways the COVID-19 Quarantine Can Improve Your Tennis

What a difference a year makes! Last spring, the world was a different place; many of us were already enjoying outdoor tennis and looking forward to another summer watching grand slams and playing the sport we love.


Fast forward to today’s world where the coronavirus emergency is in full swing and everyone is sheltering in place, anxious about when we will be able to return to the courts. As I write this on a beautiful spring day in April, the new normal for tennis players around the world is that public outdoor courts, as well as private clubs, are shuttered and the year’s major slams have either been canceled or delayed for several months. 


There is no doubt — the terrible health crisis set in motion by COVID-19 has altered our world — and tennis — as we know it. 


The Silver Lining


As players, we cannot help but wonder how our game will suffer during this unprecedented, mandatory isolation, but if there is a silver lining to be found, it is this: the forced break from playing tennis permits us to contemplate — perhaps like never before — all things tennis. In fact, we can approach this period as the perfect opportunity to become a better student of the game by analyzing, reading, watching, and learning about tennis and our relationship to it in a deeper and more meaningful way. 


Here are 5 ways you can work on your tennis while in isolation:


The only caveat is that the suggestions below require access to the Internet. Once you begin exploring online tennis-related content, you’ll be amazed at the sheer quantity and variety available; there are podcasts (which are like talk shows that can be live-streamed or downloaded), blogs (which are short articles, like this one), regular-length magazine articles, e-books, websites, videos, and discussion groups. Each of the 5 broad areas outlined below can be narrowed down to contain specific information targeted at tennis players; simply use the words “for tennis players” in your web browser when conducting each search.


Learn meditation techniques


It is a well-known fact that tennis is as much a mental game as a physical one. Use this time to improve your relaxation and breathing techniques. You’ll find that not only will this help with anxiety, stress and focus on the tennis court, but also in your everyday life.


Study match strategy


Whether it’s for singles or doubles, the demands of staying healthy and working on shot technique usually keep us too busy to devote a proportional amount of time to strategy and tactics. Now, however, you finally have the time to brush up on ways to recognize weaknesses in your opponent, construct winning points, and make better shot choices!


Improve your physical routine


With so many clients being homebound, physical trainers, yoga/Pilates teachers, and cardio instructors are making their sessions available online to follow from the convenience of your own home. Start easy* if you’re exploring a different type of exercise. Take this opportunity to change things up and find new workouts. Try incorporating more stretching and muscle recovery techniques like foam rolling and self-massage. You might even find the time for a relaxing, post-workout Epsom salt bath! *(Note: before starting any new form of exercise, please consult with your doctor).


Acquire a new skill


Now is the time to watch how-to videos that offer instruction on how to choose and replace an overgrip or master new recipes for protein shakes on match day.


Connect with teammates on social media


Strangely, this quarantine period can be used to strengthen friendships and relationships in fun and unusual ways. There are online tennis games that tennis lovers can download to their smartphones and then play with others in real-time. Or how about starting a closed discussion group where you can share news, stories, pictures, and ideas related only to your team? Some are even hosting a virtual happy hour with tennis friends or having a tennis-themed movie watching party using video-conferencing platforms that allow all participants to engage simultaneously.


If you approach this break with the mindset of being flexible and adapting your tennis to include fresh ideas and an enhanced focus on your game, you may just find that when we eventually emerge from isolation and return to the tennis court, your tennis life will have been broadened and enriched in ways you could not have imagined a year ago.

**Christine Gaspar is a USTA League player from Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, CT.

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